ABSTRACT

Leptospirosis is reported infrequently in wild and domestic felids. We estimated the prevalence of Leptospira spp. infection and exposure using real-time PCR and serology, respectively, in 136 mountain lions (Puma concolor) and 39 bobcats (Lynx rufus) that died or were euthanized between 2009 and 2017 from several regions of California, US. Felids were classified as Leptospira-positive if they were test-positive using real-time PCR targeting the LipL32 gene of pathogenic Leptospira spp. or microscopic agglutination test for six serovars of Leptospira spp. The overall Leptospira spp. prevalence was 46% (63/136) for mountain lions and 28% (11/39) for bobcats. The most common serovar detected in both felid species was Leptospira interrogans serovar Pomona. Age class and geographic location were significantly associated with Leptospira spp. in mountain lions, but not in bobcats. Interstitial nephritis, predominately lymphocytic, was diagnosed in 39% (41/106) of mountain lions and 16% (4/25) of bobcats evaluated histologically and was significantly associated with being Leptospira spp.-positive in both species. Our findings suggest that Leptospira spp. infection is common and widespread in California's wild felids and may have clinical impacts on renal and overall health of individuals. Key words: Bobcat, Leptospira spp., leptospirosis, Lynx rufus, mountain lion, nephritis, pathology, Puma concolor.

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