Prevalence of antibodies to canine parvovirus and distemper virus in wolves in the Canadian Rocky Mountains

Brynn Nelson, Mark Hebblewhite, Vanessa Ezenwa, Todd Shury, Evelyn H. Merrill, Paul C. Paquet, Fiona Schmiegelow, Dale Seip, Geoff Skinner, Nathan Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Wild carnivores are often exposed to diseases via contact with peridomestic host species that travel through the wildland-urban interfaces. To determine the antibody prevalences and relationships to human activity for two common canid pathogens, we sampled 99 wolves (Canis lupus) from 2000 to 2008 for antibodies to canine parvovirus (CPV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) in Banff and Jasper National Parks and surrounding areas of the Canadian Rockies. This population was the source for wolves reintroduced into the Northern Rockies of the US. Of 99 wolves sampled, 94 had detectable antibody to CPV (95%), 24 were antibody-positive for CDV (24%), and 24 had antibodies to both pathogens (24%). We tested whether antibody prevalences for CPV and CDV were higher closer to human activity (roads, town sites, First Nation reserves) and as a function of sex and age class. Wolves ≥2 yr old were more likely to be have antibodies to CPV. For CDV, male wolves, wolves ≥2 yr, and those closer to First Nation reserves were more likely to have antibodies. Overall, however, we found minimal support for human influence on antibody prevalence for CDV and CPV. The similarity between our antibody prevalence results and results from recent studies in Yellowstone National Park suggests that at least in the case of CDV, and perhaps CPV, these could be important pathogens with potential effects on wolf populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Wildlife Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Banff national park
  • Canine distemper virus
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Canis lupus
  • Carnivore
  • Jasper national park
  • Wolf


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