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A number of potential enteropathogens have been identified in Eurasian badgers in Great Britain. These include protozoa such as Eimeria melis, Isospora melis (Anwar and others 2000) and Giardia species (Barlow and others 2011), Helminths (Hancox 1980, Jones and others 1980), and salmonellae (Wray and others 1977, Euden 1990, Wilson and others 2003). However, no viral enteropathogens have been confirmed in Great Britain or throughout the range of the Eurasian badger. Histopathological findings suggestive of parvovirus enteritis have been seen in cases of diarrhoea in captive, hand-reared badgers. However, the presence of parvovirus has never been confirmed by laboratory means in these cases (Mullineaux 2003). Parvovirus infection has also been suspected as the cause of myocarditis in a Eurasian badger (Burtscher and Url 2007). This again was based only on histological findings, as there was no parvoviral antibody or antigen confirmation. This communication describes parvovirus infection causing enteric pathology associated with acute diarrhoea and death in badger cubs.
Five badger cubs, about 20 weeks of age, at a wildlife centre died with acute severe diarrhoea in a two-week period despite therapy and supportive treatment. Initially, three carcases were submitted to the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) - Langford for postmortem examination. These had been at the wildlife centre between one and two and a half months. Two were from Somerset and the most recent arrival was from Essex. These were all in fair bodily condition but were dehydrated. All had empty stomachs and in one cub the small and …