Submitted to: Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/10/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: A retrospective study was carried out on histopathological findings of 283 raccoons from 5 different geographical locations for presence of interstitial nephritis and renal leptospirosis. Higher prevalence of nephritis was seen in raccoons from 2 locations but leptospiral organisms were detected in kidneys from only 1 of these sites. Results of this study indicate that although interstitial nephritis was common in raccoons, the presence of renal leptospiral spirochetes was not. Impact statement: Raccoons share our immediate environment and they have been recommended as monitors of zoonotic diseases. Therefore, the finding of subclinical leptospirosis in raccoon populations in this study will make the livestock and wildlife authorities aware of potential outbreaks of this disease in animals under their jurisdiction.
Technical Abstract: Raccoons are highly adaptable omnivores and have been used as monitors of human diseases and environmental contamination. However, since there is paucity of published information on diseases of raccoons, documentation of naturally occurring diseases and lesions in this species is of paramount importance. We examined kidneys of 283 raccoons from 5 different geographical locations for presence of lesions and presence of bacterial organisms that cause kidney disease (leptospirosis). Higher prevalence of kidney lesions was seen in raccoons from 2 locations but the organisms were detected in kidneys from only 1 of these sites. Wild animals, including raccoons, have been incriminated as reservoir hosts for leptospirosis. Results of this study indicate that although lesions in kidneys were common in raccoons from many geographical areas of the United States, the presence of bacteria were confined to raccoons in certain States (Oregon and Pennsylvania). Moreover, in the present investigation, none of the live-trapped raccoons with the kidney disease showed any obvious clinical signs. These data indicate that raccoons are subclinical reservoir hosts for this disease (leptospirosis) in some parts of the United States.