The Texas Ocelot: 17 Years of Health Assessment
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2008
Thomas W. DeMaar1, DVM; Amanda L. Guthrie2, DVM; Jody Mays3, MS; Linda L. Laack4, MS
1Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville, TX, USA, and the Department of Biomedical Studies, The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, Brownsville, TX, USA, and the Department of Environmental and Population Health, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA, USA; 2Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville, TX, USA; 3Laguna Atascosa NWR, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Rio Hondo, TX, USA; 4Environmental Defense, Austin, TX, USA


Currently, in the United States the ocelot Leopardus pardalis, an endangered species, is found only in south Texas. The ocelot is linked to dense thornscrub habitat with ≥95% canopy cover; this habitat is reduced to <5% of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.2 The only known breeding population of ocelots on public land survives at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Since 1982 this population of ocelots has been monitored in accordance with the USFWS Ocelot Recovery Plan. Genetic analyses indicate this population has been isolated since before monitoring began and is experiencing genetic diversity loss.1 This survey is establishing baseline disease spectrums in preparation for translocation of ocelots from other populations to address genetic depression.

Since 1991, 52 animals have been captured for 101 blood collection events. These animals were tested for a variety of infectious diseases; the majority was negative for titers to Leptospira interrogans serovars pomona, hardjo, icterohemorrhagiae, and canicola, nine demonstrated titers to the grippotyphosa serovar. All samples showed low titers to Toxoplasma gondii; 100% (n=83) were negative for titers to Coccidioides immitis; 100% (n=67) were negative for titers to Histoplasma capsulatum; 100% (n=75) were negative for feline leukemia virus; 97% (n=64) were negative for Herpesvirus; 100% were negative for Coronavirus; 98% (n=91) were negative on the Dirofilaria immitis antigen test; 100% were negative for microfilaria. Eighty-nine percent (n=38) were negative for hemoparasites, whereby there were three instances of Hepatozoon, two Cytauxzoon and one Hemobartonella observed. Forty-five percent of samples showed gastrointestinal parasites in irregular frequencies and types.

Literature Cited

1.  Janeckak J.E., M.E. Tewes, L.L. Laack, L.I. Grassman Jr., A.M. Haines, and R.L. Honeycutt. 2007. Small effective population sizes of two remnant ocelot populations (Leopardus pardalis albescens) in the United States. Conserv. Genet. DOI 10.1007/s10592-007-9412-1.

2.  Pence, D.B., M.E. Tewes, D.B. Shindle, and D.M. Dunn. 1995. Notoedric mange in an ocelot (Felis pardalis) from southern Texas. J. Wildl. Dis. 31: 558–561.


Speaker Information
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Amanda L. Guthrie, DVM
Gladys Porter Zoo
Brownsville, TX, USA

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