We tested serum samples from 387 free-ranging wolves (Canis lupus) from 2007 to 2013 for exposure to eight canid pathogens to establish baseline data on disease prevalence and spatial distribution in Minnesota's wolf population. We found high exposure to canine adenoviruses 1 and 2 (88% adults, 45% pups), canine parvovirus (82% adults, 24% pups), and Lyme disease (76% adults, 39% pups). Sixty-six percent of adults and 36% of pups exhibited exposure to the protozoan parasite Neospora caninum. Exposure to arboviruses was confirmed, including West Nile virus (37% adults, 18% pups) and eastern equine encephalitis (3% adults). Exposure rates were lower for canine distemper (19% adults, 5% pups) and heartworm (7% adults, 3% pups). Significant spatial trends were observed in wolves exposed to canine parvovirus and Lyme disease. Serologic data do not confirm clinical disease, but better understanding of disease ecology of wolves can provide valuable insight into wildlife population dynamics and improve management of these species.
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Vol. 53 • No. 3