Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Small mammals from western Brookings County, South Dakota were collected and examined for leptospirosis. The major methods used were the microscopic agglutination test and darkfield examination of urine for spirochetes. From 32 sites, a total of 248 animals were collected from which 73 (29.4%) serum samples and 82 (33.1%) urine samples were obtained. Spirochetes were observed in the urine of 3 deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus). One of the deer mice had spirochetes in the urine and agglutinating antibodies to L. wolfii in the serum. One thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus) had an agglutination titer of 1:10 to L. Hardjo, and another had agglutinating antibodies at a titer of 1:20 to L. Pomona and 1:10 to L. hardjo and L. canicola. One fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) had antibodies at a titer of 1:10 to L. Pomona, and another had agglutinins at a titer of 1:10 to L. conicola, L. grippotyphosa and L. icterohaemorrhagiae. Animals with agglutinins in their blood or spirochetes in their urine were captured in areas which appeared to be favorable to the survival of leptospires outside of the host. It is difficult to determine whether leptospirosis in small mammals is a problem, and there is a further need for research in this area.

Library of Congress Subject Headings


Mammals -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University