Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Pennsylvania
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Pennsylvania Project

Muskrat ecology and disease

July 2018 - August 2023


Participating Agencies

  • USDA National Wildlife Research Center

Wildlife disease surveillance is important for understanding wildlife health and can also provide insight into human and domestic animal health. Monitoring wildlife for diseases can be used to initiate preventative measures or management efforts against outbreaks in other wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. Passive surveillance involves investigation of mortality events to determine the cause(s) of disease. Results of passive surveillance give researchers insight into what is currently causing or has previously caused morbidity and mortality. Active surveillance consists of targeted investigations of pathogens, toxicants, and diseases through systematic collections of animals or their samples. Through various surveillance frameworks, researchers can assess current and future risk to outbreaks and diseases.

Research Publications Publication Date
Niedringhaus, K.D, L.S. Ganoe, M. Lovallo, W.D. Walter, M.J. Yabsley, J.D. Brown. 2022. Fatal infection by Versteria sp. in a muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) with implications for human health. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigations 34(2): 314–318. | Abstract March 2022
Ganoe, L.S., J.D. Brown, M.J. Yabsley, M.J. Lovallo, and W.D. Walter. 2020. A review of pathogens, diseases, and contaminants of muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) in North America. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 7:233. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00233. | Abstract May 2020
Ganoe, L.S., J.D. Brown, M.J. Lovallo, M.J. Yabsley, K.B. Garrett, A.T. Thompson, R.H. Poppenga, M.G. Ruder, and W.D. Walter. 2021. Surveillance for diseases, pathogens, and toxicants of muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) in Pennsylvania and surrounding regions. PlosONE 16(12):e0260987. | Abstract December 2021
Presentations Presentation Date
Ganoe, L, J. Brown, M. Lovallo, Michael Yabsley, Mark Ruder, and W.D. Walter. 2019. Defining Pathogens and Disease of Muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) in Pennsylvania. 68th Annual International Conference of the Wildlife Disease Association, Tahoe City, CA. August 2019
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Ganoe, L.S. 2019. Using a multi-faceted approach to assess ecological components affecting muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) populations. The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 137 pp. December 2019