Fox, J.S. 1983. Relationships of diseases and parasites to the distribution and abundance of bobcats in New York. Ph.D. Dissertation, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, 94 pp.

Abstract: The diseases and parasites of bobcats, Lynx rufus, (Felis rufus), were investigated to determine their relationships to the distribution and abundance of bobcats in New York State in 1976-80. Antibodies for three viral diseases were detected in the serum. Statewide, 48 of 232 (21%) bobcats had feline panleukopenia antibodies, 36 of 224 (16%) had feline calicivirus antibodies, 112 of 224 (50%) had feline viral rhinotracheitis antibodies. Adult bobcats from the Catskills had a higher prevalence of feline panleukopenia antibodies than all other age classes in the Catskill or Adirondack regions of New York. In the Catskills, 28 0 37 (76%) adults had feline panleukopenia antibodies while in the Adirondacks only 5 of 58 (9%) adults had antibodies. Feline calicivirus and feline viral rhinotracheitis antibody prevalences showed no regional differences. Rural, unvaccinated domestic cats from both the Adirondacks and Catskills had higher antibody prevalences than bobcats for the same three viruses. The physical condition of Adirondack bobcats declined from early to late winter while the physical condition of Catskill bobcats remained the same. there were no relationships among antibody prevalences, antibody titers, physical condition indexes or helminth burdens. Parasites were recovered from 215 of 218 (99%) intact bobcat carcasses. Helminths recovered included 10 nematodes, 5 cestodes, 2 trematodes and 1 acanthocephalan. The average infection was 3 helminth species with a mean burden of 38 worms per bobcat. three nematode species were more prevalent in the Catskills while 2 tapeworm species were more common in the Adirondacks. Toxocara mystax worm burdens were higher in juveniles and yearlings than in adults. Toxoplasma gondii antibodies were present in 51 of 220 (23%) bobcat serums and in 24 of 44 (66%) domestic cat serums. Low parasite burdens minimized the impact of parasites on the bobcat population. Feline panleukopenia is probably an important cause of natural mortality and may influence bobcat abundance in New York.