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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Survey of Serum Amyloid A and Bacterial and Viral Frequency Using qPCR Levels in Recently Captured Feral Donkeys from Death Valley National Park (California).

  • Author(s): Jerele, Sara
  • Davis, Eric
  • Mapes, Samantha
  • Pusterla, Nicola
  • Navas González, Francisco Javier
  • Iglesias Pastrana, Carlos
  • Abdelfattah, Essam Mahmoud
  • McLean, Amy
  • et al.

Feral donkey removal from state land has raised concerns in terms of disease transmission between equine species. Disease outbreaks may occur as a result of the relocation of animals to new environments. Virus and bacteria DNA load and serum amyloid A derived from the pathogenic processes that they involve were measured in recently captured donkeys. Blood and nasal swabs were collected from 85 donkeys (Death Valley National Park, Shoshone, California); 24 were retested after 30/60 days in the Scenic (Arizona) long-term holding facility co-mingled with feral donkeys from Arizona and Utah. Quantitative Real-Time PCR (qPCR) was performed to detect viral and bacterial genomic material (equine influenza A [EIV], equine rhinitis A and B viruses, AHV-2, AHV-3, AHV-5 and EHV-1, EHV-4, Streptococcus equi subspecies equi and zooepidemicus,). Significant relations between behavior, body condition score, nasal discharge, and coughing were found in donkeys for which AHV-2 and Streptococcus zooepidemicus DNA was detected. Higher SAA concentrations were found in foals. AHV-2 and Streptococcus zooepidemicus DNA concentrations significantly differed between sampling moments (p < 0.05). In conclusion, donkeys do not appear to be a substantial risk for disease transmission to horses but could be if they carried strangles or other processes in which AHV-2 and Streptococcus zooepidemicus were involved.

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