Infectious Pathogens and Resistance to Diseases Related to Ursids: Are Microparasites a Factor in the Ursid Threatened Species Management Plans?
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2014
Ezequiel Hidalgo, DVM
Conservation and Research Department, Parque Zoologico Buin Zoo, Buin, Chile


The Carnivora comprise 15 families,10 and they are identified as one of the mammal groups most threatened by infectious agents.7,9,11 However, in the case of Ursids, different authors have suggested that members of this family have a high resistance to infectious diseases1-6,8 and, therefore, infectious disease wouldn’t be relevant for their management. In order to verify the relationship between microparasites (virus, protozoa, and bacteria), susceptibility to infection and clinical disease in Ursids, a literature review was conducted.

Reports were found documenting susceptibility to infection by 43 different pathogens and disease by at least 65 clinical reports and 20 pathogens, with viruses being the most common pathogen type associated with clinical cases. Although these reports mostly document individuals being affected rather than wild populations, it is very important to take infectious diseases into account for ex situ and translocation management programs. Thus, biosecurity and preventive plans may be established for selected microparasites as an important issue for captive bear populations and translocation programs. In conclusion, further studies about the relationship of infectious pathogens and Ursidae family may be conducted.

Literature Cited

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8.  Schaul JC. Baylisascaris transfuga in captive and free ranging populations of bears (family: Ursidae). PhD thesis. The Ohio State University. 2006.

9.  Williams ES, ET Thorne. Infectious and parasitic diseases of captive carnivores, with special emphasis on the black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes). Revue scientifique et technique (International Office of Epizootics). 1996;15:91–114.

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11.  Woodroffe R, S Cleaveland, O Courtenay, K Laurenson, M Artois. Infectious diseases in the management and conservation of wild canids. In: DW MacDonald, C Sillero-Zubiri, eds. Biology and Conservation of Wild Canids. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press; 2004:123–142.


Speaker Information
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Ezequiel Hidalgo, DVM
Conservation and Research Department
Parque Zoológico Buin Zoo
Buin, Chile

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