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Swift Fox Symposium

Parasites and Diseases of Wild Swift Fox

Margo J. Pybus1 and Elizabeth S. Williams2. 1Alberta Natural Resources Service - Fish and Wildlife, Edmonton, AB. 2Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, Laramie, WY.

Parasites and diseases of wild swift fox, Vulpes velox, have not been well documented. Nematode parasites tend to dominate the parasite fauna, with ascarids (Toxascaris leonina, Toxocara canis) being the most common and the most numerous. Hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum), and whipworms (Trichuris vulpis) as well as miscellaneous protozoans and ectoparasite species also have been found. Various disease agents have been documented serologically (e.g., bubonic plague, canine distemper), however, there are few cases of confirmed overt disease in wild swift fox. There is no indication that parasites or diseases are significant factors in population dynamics of wild foxes. It is likely that swift foxes share a community of parasites and diseases with sympatric canids and have not developed a specialized suite of agents.

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