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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Salmon poisoning disease: research on a potential method of lethal control for coyotes


Salmon poisoning disease (SPD) was tested as a potential method of lethal control for coyotes (Canis latrans). Fresh fish containing the agents for SPD was fed to 72 captive adult coyotes. Coho (Oncorhunchus kisutch) and steelhead salmon (Salmo gairdneri) from Oregon hatcheries were the principal species of fish used. Coyotes that ate the fish developed observable signs of SPD in a mean of 8 days. The overall rate of mortality was 50%, and death occurred in a mean of 20 days from consuming fish. Coyotes that died from SPD lost a mean of 32% of their body weight during the course of the disease. Other coyotes were fed preserved fish samples or administered oral or intraperitoneal treatments of lymph node matter from coyotes that died from SPD. In light of the relatively low rate of mortality observed, feeding coyotes fish to cause death from SPD appears to be a method of questionable value for controlling numbers of adult coyotes in areas of livestock production unless fish with a highly virulent strain of the SPD agent can be obtained.

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