The threat of disease transmission from domestic animals to wildlife has become recognized as an increasing concern within the wildlife community in recent years. Domestic dogs pose a significant risk as reservoirs for infectious diseases, especially for wild canids. As part of a multifaceted ecologic study of maned wolves and other canids in the large, remote Noël Kempff Mercado National Park (NKMNP) in northeastern Bolivia, 40 domestic dogs in two villages and at two smaller settlements bordering the national park were sampled for exposure to canine diseases. High levels of exposure were found to canine distemper virus and canine parvovirus, both of which are known to cause mortality in maned wolves and other carnivores. Moderate to high levels of exposure were found to rabies virus, Ehrlichia canis, and Toxoplasma gondii, as well as significant levels of infection with Dirofilaria immitis. This study reports evidence of exposure to several diseases in the domestic dogs bordering the park. Contact between wild carnivores and dogs has been documented in the sampled villages, therefore dogs likely pose a substantial risk to the carnivores within and near NKMNP. Further measures should be undertaken to decrease the risk of spillover infection from domestic animals into the wild species of this region.
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Vol. 39 • No. 1