The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecular) has well adapted to increasing urbanization, resulting in greater interaction with humans and their domestic pets. Wildlife species in urban areas face a higher risk of exposure to zoonotic pathogens and may be affected by parasites hosted by cats (Toxoplasma gondii) or dogs (Neospora caninum), yet it is unknown to what extent urban T. vulpecular are exposed to these parasites. Antibodies to T. gondii and N. caninum were assayed in sera of 142 adult possums from the city of Sydney, Australia. Using the modified agglutination test, antibodies to T. gondii were found in 9 (6.3%) of the 142 animals in titers of 1:25 (4), 1:50 (1), 1:100 (1), 1:800 (1), 1:3,200 (1), 1:6,400 (1), and 1:12,800 (1). Of some T. vulpecular multiple sera samples within a 2-yr frame could be collected, but seropositive animals in general were not recaptured after initial seroconversion. One possum had a high T. gondii titer on 2 consecutive bleedings, 14 mo apart, and seropositive possums appeared normal when captured. Sex seemed not to have an affect on antibody prevalence, but age and location may play a role. Antibodies to N. caninum were not detected in 1:25 dilution of sera in the N. caninum agglutination test, indicating that T. vulpecular may not have been exposed to this parasite. This is the first serological survey for T. gondii and N. caninum infections in urban T. vulpecular.
- domestic pets