The CCWHC is a cooperative effort at all 5 Canadian Veterinary Colleges. Our purpose is to apply the veterinary medical sciences to wildlife conservation and management in Canada through the acquisition of knowledge of wildlife health and disease, via continuous disease surveillance in free-ranging populations. CCWHC coordinates Canada?s National Wildlife Health Surveillance Program and provides educational programs, information, and consultation to government agencies and the public.  To visit our national website click here.

Submission Form

The CCWHC, Atlantic Region, serves the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s based within the Atlantic Veterinary College, in PEI and headed by Dr Pierre-Yves Daoust.



Bufo fowleri - Fowler's ToadWildlife Habitat to be Destroyed by Development – BUILDING PROJECT HAS BEEN CANCELLED

After a 2-year campaign to protect the habitat of this species protected under the Ontario’s Endangered Species act, the proposed development has been cancelled.  Read more about it from the Save the Frogs website, here.

ORIGINAL POSTING: In Ontario, the construction of a condominium and shopping area on the shore of lake Erie will destroy the habitat of Fowler’s toads despite the species being protected under the Ontario’s Endangered Species Act.  For more information on the species, the development and a campaign aimed at stopping the irreparable damage to this endangered amphibian’s habitat, click here.


Baleen from Right and Minke Whales on Display

The display of baleen from a right whale (black vertical baleen) and a minke whale (yellow-white and curved, at the base of the case) has been set up in the foyer of the Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, thanks to the tireless efforts of Grant Curtis.

The right whale was beached on the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, north of Prince Edward Island, in October 2001. This animal may have become entangled in fishing lines at depth and died from asphyxiation, as suggested by a necropsy performed by pathologists and staff of the CCWHC, Atlantic Region.

The minke whale is one of several animals of this species that have been examined by the CCWHC, Atlantic region, over the years.  Although it may not be the case in this particularly individual, entanglement in fishing gears is a common cause of mortality in this species around Prince Edward Island.


White-nose syndrome found in Prince Edward Island

The first case of white-nose syndrome on Prince Edward Island was diagnosed by CCWHC pathologist Dr Scott McBurney.  For the full story, click here




Brain Worm in Endangered Mainland Moose in Nova Scotia

Brain-worm infection in moose causes neurological signs, so that affected moose cannot walk normally, stop eating and may die from starvation.  Sick moose also become disoriented, loose their fear of humans, and are easy prey to predators or end up in traffic accidents.  Two cases of brain-worm infection in Nova Scotian moose were recently diagnosed by the Atlantic CCWHC, click here to read more about them.


ASFWB meeting hosted by CCWHC

The CCWHC Atlantic was honored to be the hosting organization of the 49th annual meeting of the Atlantic Society of Fish and Wildlife Biologists this past October 23-25, 2012.  The meeting took place here in Charlottetown, at the bea

utiful Rodd Charlottetown Hotel.  An informal ice-breaker at Saint James’ Gate allowed people to say hello to old friends, meet a variety of wildlife professionals and students, and to put faces to names they had corresponded with by email or phone.  The annual meeting took place amongst 29 presentations of scientific and extension work delivered by individuals working in government, academia, private consulting firms and, most importantly, students.  Close to 70 participants attended the meeting and talks.  This year, the first prize, awarded to the best presentation by a student, was won by our very own wildlife resident, Dr Heather Fenton, seen here sitting with the other two members of the CCWHC team, Dr Maria Forzan (right) and Fiep deBie (left), who were in charge of program and registration, respectively.

Our regional director, Dr Pierre-Yves Daoust, was one of three keynote speakers.  Dr Daoust spoke about welfare considerations in wildlife management, particularly in regards to marine mammals.  Recent AVC MSc graduate, Garry Gregory, talked about some of his research into muskrats on PEI and highlighted the drawbacks of using trapping data to estimate population sizes.

A yearly tradition, the silent auction to benefit a student scholarship fund, was rather successful, yielding over $800 from the sale of items donated by several Island artisans and businesses, as well as some ASFWB members.  The money that was collected this year will go, very fittingly, to establishing a scholarship for wildlife students here at the University of Prince Edward Island.

If you would like to see the Proceedings, go to the ASFWB website or click here.


Mysterious Bluefin Tuna Deaths washing-up on the shorelines of Atlantic Canada

by: Dr Dave Groman, CCWHC collaborator

In each of the past 3 years the Atlantic regional node of the CCWHC in  Charlottetown, PEI, has been contacted by either the provincial or federal government to investigate Bluefin deaths in Atlantic Canada.   Members of the CCWHC unit in cooperation with Aquatic Diagnostic Services at the AVC have performed 3 necropsies on bluefin tuna.  All of these fish were found washed-up on the shoreline of the Northumberland Strait between PEI and the neighboring provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.To read about these cases, click here.

band.jpgPain in the what?

A case of dual parasitic infection in a Nova Scotian snapping turtle.  To read a description of this interesting case click here.


Seal die-off in Nova Scotia

An estimated 400 grey seal pups have died in the past few days. 

Read more…




Swabbing protocol to detect avian trichomoniasis / trichomonosis

For a description of how to swab birds specifically to detect infection with Trichomas gallinae, please click here.



First cases of white-nose syndrome confirmed in Nova Scotia

On March 23, 2011, a little brown bat found alive in a home in Nova Scotia (NS) was euthanized and submitted to the CCWHC Atlantic Region for necropsy.  The bat did not have gross or microscopic skin lesions typical of bat white-nose syndrome.  However, swabs taken from the bat’s muzzle and wing membranes were positive for the fungus Geomyces destructans, the alleged cause of bat white-nose syndrome.  Based on these results, suspect bat white-nose syndrome was diagnosed - case definition requires skin lesions to be associated with the fungus to confirm a diagnosis of the disease.

More recently, on May 3, two other little brown bats were submitted to CCWHC Atlantic.  One bat was found dead on April 22 in Scotch Village, Hants County, NS, and the other found alive and euthanized on May 2 in Martock, Hants County.  Both bats were on the landscape in the vicinity of a known concentration of hibernacula.  Each bat had a confirmed diagnosis of bat WNS based on gross and microscopic lesions and positive RT-PCR for Geomyces destructans.  This is the first confirmed diagnosis of bat WNS for NS, it comes only weeks after the original suspect diagnosis of WNS from bats in the same geographical area.  Bat WNS surveillance continues with primarily little brown bats being submitted from both New Brunswick and NS.  We are awaiting PCR results from 4 bats done last week (May 9-13) and are expecting (an) additional submission(s) this week (May 16-20).  Some of the bats are expected to be positive, permitting confirmatory diagnoses for other counties in our region.

For more information, or to report a sick or dead bat, please contact your Dept. of Natural Resources or CCWHC Atlantic (atlantic@ccwhc.ca or 902 628 4314).

by : Dr Scott McBurneyband.jpg

Fatal Fungal Disease of Bats Spreads to New Brunswick

New Brunswick?s index case of Bat White-nose Syndrome has been identified in its most important known bat overwintering cave.  The problem was detected by Ms. Karen Vanderwolf,  a UNB graduate student, and her co-supervisor, Dr. Donald McAlpine (New Brunswick Museum Research Curator of  Zoology and Adjunct Professor, University of New Brunswick)….read more


Diseases of Harbour Porpoises Project

Heather Fenton, our new MVSc student at the CCWHC Atlantic Region, is working on a project to investigate diseases of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) stranded along the Canadian coasts.  Much of Heather?s work will be based on previously accumulated data from many years of necropsies performed at the Atlantic regional centre of the CCWHC and at the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Abbotsford, British Columbia.  She also hopes to incorporate some data from the CCWHC in Quebec, but she is very interested in additional submissions, perhaps from researchers working on the species elsewhere in North America.  Therefore, if you have any information on stranded marine mammals, please contact Heather (hfenton@upei.ca); any material that comes from other sources will be duly acknowledged.

What to do you if you find a stranded marine mammal:

Note the location and contact your regional officer of Fisheries and Oceans Canada or the Marine Animal Response Society at (866) 567 6277.


Amphibian Health Research – 2010

Over 300 frogs were caught, swabbed to test for Bd and sometimes bled for a ranavirus study. For a preliminary summary of the research conducted in the summer of 2010, click here.

Amphibian Health Research – 2009
Survey results, click here

Leather Back Turtle

The skeleton of a Leather Back turtle that was submitted as a necropsy case to CCWHC Atlantic in 2008 is being articulated by Grant Curtis.  Read more…


Minke Whale Necropsy on PEI

On June 16 a dead minke whale was found on Prince Edward Island.  A team composed of members of CCWHC and the AVC performed the necropsy to determine the cause of its death.

Read more….


Hooded seals on shores of Prince Edward Island

A mild 2009-10 winter resulted in the complete lack of ice in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, interfering with the reproduction of harp seals and hooded seals. Seals likely gave birth much farther north than usual, may have given birth on thin ice and been unable to complete their normal nursing period, or may have given birth on shore in the southern Gulf.  Hooded seals, a species that is rarely seen in the vicinity of PEI, were sighted on several occasions on its shores. Two adults, a male and a female, were found dead in April and examined by Dr Pierre-Yves Daoust.  Read more….




Summer research on trichomoniasis (trichomonosis) in wild finches.

This summer, 2010, Dr Scott McBurney will be working with Whitney Kelly-Clark, an MSc student, on various aspects of the disease that has been detected in purple and American goldfinches in the Maritime Provinces since 2007.  The work will be funded by CCWHC and a grant from the Sir James Dunn Foundation for Animal Welfare.

Sick birds at your feeder? Click here….


Dr. Séguin and Dr. Larrat measure the total lengthPilot Whales Stranding, Magdalen Islands, QC, Oct 12 2009

Members of the CCWHC headed out to the Magdalen Islands to examine a group of 8 pilot whales, Globicephala melas, that had stranded on Oct 12, 2009.  The CCWHC team consisted of a collaborative effort between the Québec and Atlantic Regions.  Dr Guylaine Séguin and Dr Sylvain Larrat (Québec), along with Dr María Forzán (Atlantic), conducted the necropsy of 3 of the whales, 2 were males and 1 was a pregnant female.  The other 5 whales were inaccessible.  No significant pathologic findings were present.  This is common in cases of multiple whale strandings, which are more associated with strong winds and stormy conditions than with poor health of the individuals involved.  The location and individual information of all 8 whales will be added to the Marine Mammal database of the CCWHC, which contains information from the Atlantic region dating back to 1992.