Wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) are an important game species throughout the geographic range. Populations throughout multiple regions of the US have been declining, including in Kentucky, US, raising concerns among managers and resource users. To better understand the overall population health, we performed postmortem examinations and targeted pathogen, mineral, and toxicant testing on 36 adult male, apparently healthy, wild turkeys that were hunter harvested in western Kentucky during April 2018. We found that birds were in fair to good nutritional condition with no significant gross or microscopic lesions. Ticks (Amblyomma spp.) and lice (three species) were present on 94 and 31% of birds, respectively. We commonly detected intestinal nematodes and cestodes and found coccidian oocysts in 39% and capillarid eggs in 6% of birds. The prevalences of lymphoproliferative disease virus and reticuloendotheliosis virus were 39 and 11%, respectively. Spleen samples tested with PCR were positive for Borrelia burgdorferi, Haemoproteus sp., and Leucocytozoon sp. in 11, 83, and 3%, respectively. Based on a subjective histologic assessment of testis tissues, most birds had widespread and abundant sperm present. Mineral analysis and broad toxicant screening on liver samples from 32 turkeys were unremarkable. Further work is needed to assess potential population risk factors and to determine individual- and population-level impacts of pathogens on adults and poults.

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