Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 3

Wolves, Distemper, and Parvo

Sarah Davis

Canine parvovirus, abbreviated as CPV, and canine distemper virus,


abbreviated as CDV, are viruses which effect canines like foxes, wolves,
coyotes, and domestic or feral dogs. The viruses were believed to most likely
be spread to wolves through contact with infected domestic or feral dogs.
CPV is spread from canine to canine often through fecal-oral contact. CPV
causes diarrhea, fever, and dehydration. The rate of mortality rates for CPV
is most high within pups. CDV causes pneumonia, encephalitis, and
sometimes death. Wolf populations are being promoted to grow in the United
States, unfortunately CPV and CDV are hindering pup survival thus slowing
population growth. Researchers have set out to confirm a correlation
between human activity and a higher occurrence of the viruses; as one was
already believed to exist.
The reason behind the study was to understand why wolf populations
may decline at times. Wolves have had to be reintroduced into the United
States and are currently the subjects of conservation attempts.
Understanding the spread and effect of these viruses can help
conservationists improve the wolves numbers in the wild. It is illegal to hunt
wolves in national parks, however they are still subject to other unnatural
deaths such as car accidents. Researchers took this into account when trying
to find reasons behind wolves numbers.
The study was done in the area of Canadian Rockies, where wolves
were originally reintroduced to the northwest US The study area included two
national parks, three major highways, a few secondary roads and towns and

Wolves, Distemper, and Parvo

Sarah Davis

cities adjacent to the national parks. In order to confirm that the virus, or
viruses, was prevalent within populations the wolves blood was tested for
antibodies to the virus. The researchers accomplished this by using a variety
of traps and sedation. Researchers recorded the age class of the wolf by
examining its teeth before taking blood to find antibodies. They used
previously measured territory range to gage the wolves proximity to human
activity.
Ninety-nine wolves were captured and tested beginning in the year
2000 and ending in the year 2008. They found little differences in antibody
occurrence between the sexes, however it was discovered that male wolves
were more likely to have antibodies for CPV than females. Ninety-four
wolves (95%) were considered CPV antibodypositive and 24 (24%) were
considered CDV antibodypositive, confirming a higher antibody prevalence to
CPV than CDV (binomial test for overall prevalence of CPV vs. CDV
antibody). Younger wolves were less likely to have CPV antibodies. The
researchers were surprised to find that in contrast to their hypothesis which
stated that human activity has a large effect on the spread of CPV and CDV
their study showed very little and weak correlation between the two
variables. They found ultimately that their studies matched the amount of
antibodies found in other packs even though other measurements were done
away from human activity.
Wolf populations have often gone up and down through the years after
reintroduction, and researchers believe that canine parvovirus and canine

Wolves, Distemper, and Parvo

Sarah Davis

distemper virus play a part in this. These viruses pose little danger to adult
wolves whose immune system can fight them off. However, if young pups
contract these viruses they often prove to be fatal. Researchers are
attempting to find out why so many wolf packs have these viruses in such
abundance. The hypothesis from this article predicted that it was proximity
to human activity, and their possibly infected dogs, that caused such
frequency of occurrence of these viruses. These researchers found through
their sampling study that there was only a very weak relationship between
human activity and the presence of antibodies for the virus. This showed
them that their hypothesis was incorrect. Researchers will continue to study
these viruses in wolves to figure out where they are coming from and
hopefully assist the wolf population into a stable ascent.