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Wednesday, January 27 • 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Development of Strategies To Orally Deliver Vaccine For Bovine Tuberculosis To White-Tailed Deer of NE Lower Michigan

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AUTHORS: David Dressel*, Michigan State University; Henry Campa III, Michigan State University; Michael Lavelle, USDA-APHIS; Scott R. Winterstein, Michigan State Univeristy; Kurt VerCauteren, USDA-APHIS

ABSTRACT: A self-sustaining reservoir of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) occurs in free ranging white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus in northeastern lower Michigan. Along with farm mitigation and culling practices, an oral vaccine delivery system to inoculate deer against bTB has been proposed as a management strategy to reduce prevalence. Our objectives were to assess the timing of deer use of agriculture fields during spring-summer, determine food preferences and suitable vaccine delivery units (VDU), and quantify vegetation characteristics that may contribute to greater deer numbers on agriculture fields. From 1 April 2015 to 18 June 2015, 17 independent agriculture fields were used to evaluate 24 VDU distribution grids each consisting of 140 placebo VDUs. VDU distribution grids were established next to hardwood and wetland forests. Deer were offered either Record Rack® corn block, Dumor® alfalfa cubes or Purina® apple/oat bites. Trail cameras were placed on each VDU distribution grid to assess the relative abundance of deer. During the sampling period, the mean number of deer per site ranged from 0.3 to 7.7 deer/24 hr (n=319). The use of vaccine units in early spring-summer before natural forages are readily available (i.e. forest herbaceous growth) has potential to attract deer that could be inoculated. Areas that showed the greatest use by deer (range = 11 to 22 deer/24 hr) were adjacent to aspen/birch stands (40%) and lowland hardwoods (27%). Average VDU uptake rates for the apple/oat, corn, and alfalfa VDUs were 46.63%, 22.87% and 0.61%, respectively. Consumption rates for VDU distribution sites were based on the highest number of deer observed during a 24 hour period and the associated uptake of VDUs. Understanding deer feeding patterns, their presence on agriculture fields, and VDU preference may ultimately allow wildlife managers to inoculate the largest proportion of deer possible.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST