Prevalence of antibodies reactive to canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1), Leptospira interrogans serovars Canicola and Icterohaemorrhagiae, and Toxoplasma gondii were examined in free-ranging Scandinavian canids. Sampling included 275 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from mainland Norway, 60 arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) from the high-arctic islands of Svalbard, and 98 wolves (Canis lupus) from the joint Swedish-Norwegian population. Methods used included virus neutralization tests for CDV and CAV-1, a microscopic agglutination test for L. interrogans, and a direct agglutination test for T. gondii. High prevalence of antibody to CAV-1 was identified in red foxes (59.6%), wolves (67.7%), and arctic foxes (37.8%). The prevalence of antibody to CDV varied between 9.6% and 12.3% in the three species. Antibodies to L. interrogans serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae were found in 9.9% of the red foxes and 8.4% of the wolves sampled, whereas no antibody-positive arctic foxes were found. All animals were antibody-negative for L. interrogans serovar Canicola. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 66.9, 51.7, and 18.6% of red foxes, arctic foxes and wolves, respectively. Significantly more adults than juveniles were antibody-positive for CDV in red foxes and arctic foxes, for CAV-1 in wolves, and for T. gondii in red foxes and wolves. There was a general tendency for adult female red foxes to have a higher prevalence of antibodies for CDV than adult males; this difference was statistically significant. The results indicate that CDV and CAV-1 are endemic in red foxes and wolves on the Scandinavian mainland and in arctic foxes on Svalbard. Although infection with L. interrogans serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae was relatively common in wild canids on mainland Norway, it was not found on Svalbard, where the maintenance host (Rattus norvegicus) is absent. All three species are commonly exposed to T. gondii through predation on infected intermediate hosts.
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Vol. 46 • No. 2