Multihost Pathogens in, and Jaguar Predation on, Domestic Dogs in Nicaragua’s Bosawas Biosphere Reserve
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.
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