Linear enamel hypoplasia in caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus): A potential tool to assess population health

Authors

  • Jessica P. Wu,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecosystem and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada
    • Department of Ecosystem and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada.
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  • Alasdair Veitch,

    1. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Sahtu Region, Government of the Northwest Territories, Norman Wells, NT X0E 0V0, Canada
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  • Sylvia Checkley,

    1. Department of Ecosystem and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada
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  • Howard Dobson,

    1. Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
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  • Susan J. Kutz

    1. Department of Ecosystem and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada
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  • Associate Editor: Haskell

Abstract

We studied the presence of linear enamel hypoplasias (LEHs; tooth defects associated with physiological stress) in caribou (Rangifer tarandus). A timeline of tooth enamel development was determined by radiographic examination of 48 mandibles from caribou aged 3–24 months old. We examined mandibles from the Bluenose East (n = 56) and Bluenose West (n = 15) caribou herds in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, Canada, for LEHs and 21.1% (15/71) were affected. We concluded that LEHs do occur in caribou and tracking these over time may provide a tool to track population dynamics in extant wildlife. © 2012 The Wildlife Society.

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