Fifty-six red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), 18 gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), and 13 coyotes (Canis latrans) obtained by the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department during an investigation of suspected illegal wildlife translocation were examined for diseases and parasites. Red foxes and coyotes were confiscated from an animal dealer based in Ohio (USA), and gray foxes were purchased from an animal dealer in Indiana (USA). Emphasis was placed on detection of pathogens representing potential health risks to native wildlife, domestic animals, or humans. All animals were negative for rabies; however, 15 gray foxes were incubating canine distemper at necropsy. Serologic tests disclosed antibodies to canine parvovirus, canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus, canine coronavirus, canine herpesvirus, and canine parainfluenza virus in one or more host species. Twenty-three species of parasites (two protozoans, three trematodes, four cestodes, eleven nematodes, and three arthropods) were found, including species with substantial pathogenic capabilities. Echinococcus multilocularis, a recognized human pathogen not enzootic in the southeastern United States, was found in red foxes. Based on this information, we conclude that the increasingly common practice of wild canid translocation for stocking fox-chasing enclosures poses potential health risks to indigenous wildlife, domestic animals, and humans and, therefore, is biologically hazardous.
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