Four juvenile male wolves (Canis lupus) each received an oral dose of 1.6–1.7×1012 colony-forming units of Brucella abortus biovar 1 isolated from a bison (Bison bison) in Wood Buffalo National Park (Canada), and two others served as negative controls. Infected wolves did not show clinical signs of disease but did develop high Brucella antibody titers. Small numbers of B. abortus were excreted sporadically in feces until day 50 postinoculation (PI). Very small numbers of the bacterium were isolated from urine of only one wolf late on the same day that it was infected, and very small numbers of colonies of B. abortus were obtained from buccal swabs of three wolves for up to 48 hr PI. Two infected wolves euthanized 6 mo after the start of the experiment had no lesions, and colonies of B. abortus were isolated from thymus and most major lymph nodes. The other two infected wolves euthanized 12 mo after the start of the experiment had no lesions, and smaller numbers of brucellae were recovered from fewer lymph nodes compared with the wolves killed 6 mo earlier. The sporadic excretion of very small numbers of brucellae by the wolves was insignificant when compared with the infective dose for cattle.
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Vol. 40 • No. 1