Multihost Pathogens in, and Jaguar Predation on, Domestic Dogs in Nicaragua’s Bosawas Biosphere Reserve
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2014
Christine V. Fiorello1, DVM, PhD, DACZM; Laura M. Schwartz2, BA; James Liu2, BS; Alexa K. Kownacki3; Janet Foley3, DVM, PhD
1One Health Institute, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA; 2School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA; 3Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA


Indigenous communities in Bosawás Biosphere Reserve practice subsistence agriculture and hunting within this high biodiversity rainforest. Most hunters do not own firearms, and rely on their dogs as hunting partners.1 The most common game are agouti, paca, and armadillos; large game such as peccaries, deer, and tapir are a smaller but important component.1 Bosawás is remote and lacks infrastructure, including veterinary support. Leptospirosis is a serious and common zoonosis in Nicaragua.2 Dogs, livestock, and wildlife are all potential reservoirs of leptospires in this environment. During a 2013 pilot study to investigate leptospirosis in dogs, we learned that jaguar predation on hunting dogs was a serious problem. Our focus has thus expanded to include disease impacts from the canine to the jaguar population by quantifying jaguar predation on dogs and documenting potential jaguar pathogens in dogs. While disease has not previously been a major concern for jaguar populations,3 the recent outbreak of canine distemper virus (CDV) in Amur tigers highlights the fact that even solitary carnivores living at low densities may be at risk from disease spillover from domestic dogs.4 Seroprevalence of CDV in 77 dogs tested in 2013 was 99%, indicating that this virus may be endemic. At least one dog was actively shedding leptospires; 55.4% were seropositive to ≥1 leptospiral serovar, 88.3% were seropositive to canine parvovirus, 18.5% were seropositive to Trypanosoma cruzi, and 4% were seropositive to Anaplasma. All these pathogens are capable of infecting jaguars and may cause disease under certain circumstances.

Literature Cited

1.  Koster JM. Hunting with dogs in Nicaragua: an optimal foraging approach. Curr Anthropol. 2008;49:935–944.

2.  Schneider MC, Nájera P, Aldighieri S, Bacallao J, Soto A, Marquiño W, et al. Leptospirosis outbreaks in Nicaragua: identifying critical areas and exploring drivers for evidence-based planning. Intl J Environ Res Pub Health. 2012;9:3883-3910.

3.  Fiorello CV, Noss AJ, Deem SL. Demography, hunting ecology, and pathogen exposure of domestic dogs in the Isoso of Bolivia. Conserv Biol. 2006;20(3):762–771.

4.  Seimon TA, Miquelle DG, Chang TY, Newton AL, Korotkova I, Ivanchuk G, et al. Canine distemper virus: an emerging disease in wild endangered Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica). mBio. 2013;4(4):e00410-13.


Speaker Information
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Christine V. Fiorello, DVM, PhD, DACZM
One Health Institute
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California
Davis, CA, USA

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