The population of beavers (Castor fiber) in the Czech Republic is still increasing. To date there is only little information known about infection diseases of beavers in Central Europe.1,2 The aim of the study was to test free ranging beavers for antibodies to 11 infectious agents.
Trapping of animals was part of a long-term research and monitoring programme that has been running in the Czech Republic since 2004. The beavers (n=72) were trapped by Hancock traps placed on the banks of rivers or brooks. Blood samples were mostly obtained from venae digitales plantares without chemical immobilisation of the animal. Blood was centrifuged, and sera were stored at -20° C. Antibodies to the parasites Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum were tested by latex agglutination test and complement-enzyme linked immunosorbent assay respectively. Antibodies to Leptospira were tested by the microscopic agglutination test using the live cultures of 12 antigens (Icterohaemorrhagiae, Bratislava, Grippotyphosa, Sejroe, Sorex, Canicola, Australis, Tarassovi, Bataviae, Pomona, Ballum, Hardjo). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to detect antibodies to Coxiella burnetti, Chlamydia abortus, West Nile Fever virus, Trichinella spp., Hepatitis E virus and Tick-Borne Encephalitis virus. Francisella tularensis and Brucella abortus were tested by agglutination test.
We found antibodies against T. gondii, N. caninum, Leptospira spp. and F. tularensis in 16 (22%), eight (11%), three (4%) and two (3%) animals respectively. Antibodies against the other infectious agents were not found. The prevalence of antibodies against T. gondii was comparable to prevalence in other wildlife, however seroprevalence of. N. caninum was significantly higher in beavers than in other wildlife species in the Czech Republic.
1. Drózdz J, Demiaszkiewicz W, Lachowicz J. Endoparasites of the beaver Castor fiber (L.) in northeast Poland. Helminthologia. 2004;41:99–101.
2. Janovský M, Bacciarini L, Sager H, Gröone A, Gottstein B. Echinococcus multilocularisin a European Beaver from Switzerland. J Wild Dis. 2002;38:618–620.