The lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is found in South America and is listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Red List of Threatened Species. Health issues, particularly infectious diseases, are potential threats for the species. Health information from 65 wild tapirs from two Brazilian biomes, Atlantic Forest (AF) and Pantanal (PA), were collected during a long-term study (1996–2012). The study included physic, hematologic and biochemical evaluations, microbiologic cultures, urinalysis, and serologic analyses for antibodies against 13 infectious agents (viral and bacterial). The AF and PA tapirs were significantly different for several hematologic and biochemical parameters. Ten bacteria taxa were identified in the AF and 26 in the PA. Antibodies against five viruses were detected: Bluetongue virus, eastern equine encephalitis virus, western equine encephalitis virus, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus, and porcine parvovirus. A high prevalence of exposure to Leptospira interrogans (10 serovars: Autumnalis, Bratislava, Canicola, Copenhageni, Grippotyphosa, Hardjo, Hebdomadis, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Pomona, and Pyrogenes) was detected in both the AF and PA sites. A greater diversity of serovars and higher antibody titers were found in the PA. Statistically significant differences between sites were found for L. interrogans, equine encephalitis virus, and porcine parvovirus. Based on physical evaluations, both AF and PA populations were healthy. The differences in the overall health profile of the AF and PA tapir populations appear to be associated with environmental factors and infectious diseases ecology. The extensive datasets on hematology, biochemistry, urinalysis, and microbiology results from this paper can be used as reference values for wild tapirs.
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Vol. 50 • No. 4