Causes of mortality in farmed mink in the Intermountain West, North America

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Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation






SAGE Publications Inc.

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The primary causes of mortality were identified in postmortem examination of 339 (90.9%) of 373 farmed mink (Neovison vison; syn. Mustela vison) from January 2009 through June 2014 at the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (Logan, Utah). Mink were raised under farm conditions in the Intermountain West in North America, except for 1 submission of mink from Wisconsin. In the 339 mink where cause(s) of death were established, 311 (91.7%) died from a single disease or condition, whereas 28 (8.3%) had 2 diseases or conditions contributing to death. Where cause(s) of death were evident, 11 diseases accounted for 321 (94.7%) of the diagnoses: bacterial pneumonia (67, 18.8%), Aleutian mink disease (61, 17.7%), mink viral enteritis (56, 16.2%), hepatic lipidosis (28, 8.1%), nutritional myopathy (24, 7%), bacterial enterocolitis (17, 4.9%), bacterial septicemia (16, 4.6%), starvation (15, 4.3%), epizootic catarrhal gastroenteritis of mink (14, 4.1%), pancreatitis (13, 3.8%), and bacterial metritis (10, 2.9%). In 34 (9.1%) animals, a cause of death was not evident. In an additional 16 (4.3%) of the mink, botulism was suspected from clinical history but could not be confirmed by laboratory testing. Control measures for the most common causes of death in farmed mink include testing and removal of positive animals (Aleutian mink disease), vaccination (Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia, mink viral enteritis), avoidance of obesity in mink (hepatic lipidosis), and environmental management, including maintaining clean water cups, floors, feed troughs, cages, feed silos, feed truck tires, workers’ shoes, dining areas for farm personnel, leather mink handling gloves, street clothes, and coveralls.