We observed 11 cases of oral papillomatosis among 48 free-ranging Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) that had been shipped to Colorado for translocation purposes. Lesions were 1–3 mm, multifocal, nonpigmented sessile masses and occurred on the ventral lingual surface. Adverse clinical signs were not observed. Six of the 11 cases resolved and the remainder appeared to be self-limiting when affected animals were examined ≤4 mo later. New cases did not develop in previously unaffected lynx while in captivity. Histopathologic lesions included marked hyperplasia of the mucosal epithelium causing thickening of the stratum spinosum and corneum. Ballooning degeneration of epithelial cells with intracytoplasmic inclusions were observed. Papilloma virus was found on negative contrast electron microscopy. Papillomatosis was seen in lynx from three geographically distant sources (British Columbia, five of 21 individuals; Quebec, five of 17; Yukon, one of four) suggesting the causative virus may be widespread among North American lynx populations.
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Vol. 43 • No. 4