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Researchers are interested in studying wildlife and wildlife rehabilitation and they need our help. Click on one of the below studies to learn more and see what you can contribute!


Northern Raccoon Rehabilitation and Disease in NA

Plains Spotted Skunk Distribution and Threats

Mange Trends in North America

Comparative Ocular Study

SARS-CoV2 Surveillance in Mammalian Wildlife Entering Licensed Rehabilitation Facilities

My name is Dr. Jeff Gruntmeir and my colleagues Dr. Maureen Long, Jim Wellehan and I at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine are the point of contact for a study entitled, “Investigating SARS-CoV-2 in Wildlife Rehabilitation Facilities”. We are recruiting wildlife rehab facilities of all sizes for enrollment in a nationwide study (all U.S. States, territories, and Tribal lands) funded by APHIS-USDA for SARS-CoV-2 testing of ALL native terrestrial, marine, and arboreal mammals, however, we are not seeking samples from endangered or listed animals as defined in your state or by the federal government. As you know, SARS-CoV-2 has been identified in many animal species and we are trying to define the overall risk to wildlife health by doing broad surveillance testing in licensed rehab facilities. Another goal is to learn about biosecurity practices within the industry by asking facilities to complete an online biosecurity survey to gather information about industry best practices for infectious disease containment.

To better understand the full range of mammalian wildlife species susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and best biosecurity practices to utilize in a rehab setting to mitigate spread of SARS-CoV-2, our study includes three components:

 1. PCR testing of nasal and fecal swabs for virus in animals undergoing rehabilitation in a licensed facility.

2. Serology testing of animals undergoing rehabilitation in a licensed facility.

3. Biosecurity Assessment consisting of an on-line survey to further our understanding of biosecurity practices used in rehabilitation facilities which will aid in developing guidelines for mitigation strategies most successful in minimizing disease transmission in wildlife facilities.

This project is ending ~July 2025 with testing of up to 24,000 samples total from (non-endangered or listed) native wild mammals admitted as intakes (intended for release) or euthanized by enrolled facilities. This is study is cost free including all sampling supplies and shipping costs. We are hoping to receive samples from ~5-20 individuals per month where practical. The same animal can be sampled (where practical) up to 3 separate times for each sample type (nasal swab, fecal swab, and opportunistic blood) while it is in your custody. You can also submit banked serum, tissue or other sample types that may be frozen since collection from as early as 2020. Participation in this study is voluntary, cost-free, and confidential. We provide all test results to each participating facility. If interested in enrolling, please use the enrollment survey link  which just needs some basic information. ~ 5 minutes

A second more detailed survey is also needed ~30 min, asking fine details about handling, contact between animals, personnel, and PPE. Some of the questions are about animal and employee numbers so a manager is fine to fill this out.  A paper version can also be submitted with the first sample shipment.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. I am happy to email you additional study documents.

Jeff Gruntmeir MS, PhD, Veterinary Parasitology, Assistant Scientist-Scientific Coordinator, UF, Emerging Pathogens Institute, 352-294-2794 office,

Northern Raccoon Rehabilitation and Disease in NA

After communicating with rehabbers around the United States, it appears that disease outbreaks are increasing in raccoons in rehabilitation despite preventative measures including vaccinations and quarantine periods. Due to this perceived increase of outbreaks, I am conducting a North American survey (including Canada, United States, Mexico) looking at raccoon husbandry and disease outbreak trends in rehabilitation for both large centers and home-based rehabilitators. Please consider participating in this survey so that we can provide the best care for these amazing animals and limit (and hopefully eliminate) future disease outbreaks in our patients. If you are interested in helping with this project, please email me, Will Funk, MSc, CWR, at and/or fill out the survey:

Plains Spotted Skunk Distribution and Threats

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is assessing if the plains spotted skunk should be federally protected. We would like to know if you have ever encountered plains spotted skunks in your rehabilitation work and, if so, why the animals were brought to you (e.g., car strike, dog attack, orphaned young), so that we can learn more about the distribution of the subspecies and the threats they face.

We are asking wildlife rehabilitators in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, or Wyoming to share any of the following plains spotted skunk information that you may have to assist in this process:

1. County-level location from which plains spotted skunk patient(s) originated. This is the locality that the animal was found, not the address of the finder or the wildlife rehabilitator providing care.

2. Reason for admittance (e.g., hit by car, dog attack, orphaned young, canine distemper). 

3. Any condition notes related to the patient while in your care.

4. For patients that were released or relocated, county-level release location and year of release.

Submission instructions and complete Request for Information (includes images of the plains spotted skunk and similar species)

We are wildlife disease researchers looking to combine records from rehabilitation centers across the US and Canada of animals that have been treated for sarcoptic mange (mite Sarcoptes scabiei) to assess patterns in mange cases through space and time. Records of mammals that have not been affected by mange are also sought to act as a reference. We are hoping for records with information including: species, pick-up location, year, month, mange afflicted, mite identification information (if available), symptom descriptions, among others. Facilities/rehabbers with >2 years of records are of particular interest, as we hope to compare trends through time. Please feel free to contact Drs. Christopher Kozakiewicz and Alynn Martin at with questions or comments.

Comparative Ocular Study

The Comparative Ocular Pathology Laboratory of Wisconsin is looking for specimens for their research library. They are specifically looking for formalin – fixed heads of recently dead (no more than three hours) of the following:

  • Paddlefish eye

Please contact Dick Dubielzig at or visit for more information.    

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