The health of Maine’s moose is a top priority for researchers and students at the University of Maine’s Animal Health Laboratory. The lab’s director, Anne Lichtenwalner, was approached five years ago by a Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) moose biologist who wanted to know what was causing occasional calf deaths.
In the past two years, Lichtenwalner, an assistant professor of animal science, and her students examined 150 sets of lungs from Maine moose. Many were infected with lungworms, winter ticks and lung cysts. Lungworms, which can cause pathology, pneumonia, and may even contribute to death, were found in about 24 percent, Lichtenwalner says.
Echinococcus granulosus (EG), the intermediate stage of a tapeworm, was found in the form of lung cysts. The form of EG found in moose is unlikely to affect humans, but it can still infect dogs, making it important to inform the general public, especially hunters and dog owners, about the parasite. The lab published information about EG online and informed state veterinarians to remind clients that tapeworm medication is advised for dogs that may eat infected moose meat or viscera.
The lab is also part of a two-year tracking study assessing the health of moose in Maine and New Hampshire. The lab conducts blood work and processes tissues from the 90 radio-collared Maine moose in the study to test for diseases and parasites.
UMaine operates the Animal Health Lab with support from Cooperative Extension as a service to the state’s veterinarians, livestock producers and animal owners. The lab is used to perform diagnostic services such as necropsy, microbiology, virology and pathology.
Richard Brzozowski, University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator; and Anne Lichtenwalner, assistant professor, UMaine Extension veterinarian and director of the University of Maine Animal Health Laboratory, spoke about the importance of practicing bio-security on homesteads for the latest post in the Portland Press Herald blog “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources.” The author of the blog also wrote she hosted her home and garden during the UMaine Extension’s 5th annual Backyard Locavore Day.
Maine CDC has just announced (August, 2013) that the virus causing Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been detected from mosquitoes trapped near Alfred, Maine, which is south of Portland. Mosquito-trapping is a monitoring method to see whether mosquitoes are carrying viruses that can cause disease (such as EEE or West Nile encephalitis; WNV) in people and animals, if bitten by infected mosquitoes. It’s not unexpected to see EEE in mosquitoes this time of year, but it’s a good indication for using even better protection against mosquito bites. As well, be sure to check your horses’ vaccination status; horses are very sensitive to EEE and WNV, but these diseases are easily prevented with a good vaccination schedule. Check with your vet to be sure your horses’ vaccines are current.
Keri Lindberg, Maine Healthy Beaches coordinator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension/Maine Sea Grant, spoke with the Bangor Daily News about the health of Maine’s beaches after conflicting reports about bacteria levels in the water were released. Lindberg spoke about how researchers test for high bacteria.
2013 Maine-approved pesticides for use on poultry lice (Excel). Most are premise treatments, not bird treatments.
For more information about poultry, visit the UMaine Extension poultry web pages.
Anne Lichtenwalner, assistant professor and extension veterinarian at the University of Maine, spoke with the publication Bovine Veterinarian about the National Mastitis Council’s upcoming regional meeting in Portland, Maine. Lichtenwalner is also the 2013 NMC regional chairwoman.
St. John Valley Times reported on the discovery through testing at the University of Maine Animal Health Laboratory of a tiny parasitic tapeworm that can exist in the lungs of moose and intestines of canines, both wild and domestic, which could expose humans to the parasite. Excessive lungworm presence can compromise the health of moose. The Maine Center for Disease Control, the Animal Health Lab and UMaine Cooperative Extension, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife advise people to wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing game and thoroughly cook game meat, the article said. Channel 7 (WVII) also carried a report on the parasite.
A Portland Press Herald blog on large animal veterinarians in Maine included a question-and-answer interview with University of Maine Cooperative Extension Veterinarian Anne Lichtenwalner, director of the UMaine Animal Health Laboratory and assistant professor of animal and veterinary sciences, about the dwindling numbers of large animal veterinarians in the state.
Channel 7 (WVII) interviewed University of Maine Cooperative Extension veterinarian Anne Lichtenwalner and recent UMaine veterinary sciences graduate and research assistant Darryl Ann Girardin for story broadcast in the 6 p.m. news on Nov. 9 about a two-year research project helping the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife determine how prevalent a possible new parasite, lungworm, is in moose in Maine. Girardin and Lichtenwalner began analyzing lungs from hunted moose in northern Maine last fall at the UMaine Animal Health Laboratory to genetically identify lungworms in moose. They are exploring the possibility that a lungworm normally found in deer and sometimes livestock can migrate to new host species, which in this case is moose.
Contact: George Manlove, 207.581.3756
It’s been a difficult year for much of the country in regards to mosquito-borne disease, but Maine seems to have done relatively well, according to the most recent CDC update. Most mosquito activity is over for the year. The Maine 2012 season passed with no human cases, and relatively little animal disease due to EEE and WNV — probably thanks to many factors, including vaccination of horses and mosquito control for humans, pets, and livestock. Planning for mosquito control for next year is a good idea, and keeping equine vaccinations current is a big part of lessening the impact of EEE and WNV in Maine.
For more information, see “2012 US Arboviral Activity Update” (listed under Weekly reports) at westnile.ca.gov.