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Pasteurellaceae isolated from bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) from Idaho, Oregon, and Wyoming

David S. Miller DVM, PhD; DACZM1, Glen C. Weiser PhD2, Alton C. S. Ward PhD3, Mark L. Drew MS, DVM; DACZM4, and Phillip L. Chapman PhD5
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 2 Caine Veterinary Teaching Center, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Idaho, Caldwell, ID 83607.
  • | 3 Caine Veterinary Teaching Center, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Idaho, Caldwell, ID 83607.
  • | 4 Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Wildlife Health Laboratory, 16569 S 10th Ave, Caldwell, ID 83607.
  • | 5 Department of Statistics, College of Natural Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Abstract

Objective—To elucidate the species and biovariants of Pasteurellaceae isolated from clinically normal bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) or bighorn sheep with evidence of respiratory disease.

Sample—675 Pasteurellaceae isolates from 290 free-ranging bighorn sheep in Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming.

Procedures—Nasal and oropharyngeal swab specimens were inoculated onto selective and nonselective blood agar media. Representatives of each colony type were classified via a biovariant scheme. The association of respective β-hemolytic isolates with respiratory disease was evaluated via χ2 analyses.

Results—Bacterial isolates belonged to 4 species: Histophilus somni, Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida, and Bibersteinia (Pasteurella) trehalosi. Within the latter 3 species, 112 subspecies, biotypes, and biovariants were identified. Bibersteinia trehalosi 2 and B trehalosi 2B constituted 345 of 675 (51%) isolates. Most (597/618 [97%]) isolates from adult sheep were from clinically normal animals, whereas most (47/57 [82%]) isolates from lambs were from animals with evidence of respiratory disease. Twenty-two Pasteurellaceae biovariants were isolated from sheep with respiratory disease; 17 of these biovariants were also isolated from clinically normal sheep. The ability of isolates to cause β-hemolysis on blood agar was associated with respiratory disease in adult bighorn sheep (OR, 2.59; 95% confidence interval, 1.10 to 6.07).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Bighorn lambs appeared more susceptible to respiratory disease caused by Pasteurellaceae than did adult sheep. β-Hemolytic Pasteurellaceae isolates were more likely to be associated with respiratory disease than were non–β-hemolytic isolates in adult sheep. Identification of Pasteurellaceae with the greatest pathogenic potential will require studies to estimate the risk of disease from specific biovariants.

Abstract

Objective—To elucidate the species and biovariants of Pasteurellaceae isolated from clinically normal bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) or bighorn sheep with evidence of respiratory disease.

Sample—675 Pasteurellaceae isolates from 290 free-ranging bighorn sheep in Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming.

Procedures—Nasal and oropharyngeal swab specimens were inoculated onto selective and nonselective blood agar media. Representatives of each colony type were classified via a biovariant scheme. The association of respective β-hemolytic isolates with respiratory disease was evaluated via χ2 analyses.

Results—Bacterial isolates belonged to 4 species: Histophilus somni, Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida, and Bibersteinia (Pasteurella) trehalosi. Within the latter 3 species, 112 subspecies, biotypes, and biovariants were identified. Bibersteinia trehalosi 2 and B trehalosi 2B constituted 345 of 675 (51%) isolates. Most (597/618 [97%]) isolates from adult sheep were from clinically normal animals, whereas most (47/57 [82%]) isolates from lambs were from animals with evidence of respiratory disease. Twenty-two Pasteurellaceae biovariants were isolated from sheep with respiratory disease; 17 of these biovariants were also isolated from clinically normal sheep. The ability of isolates to cause β-hemolysis on blood agar was associated with respiratory disease in adult bighorn sheep (OR, 2.59; 95% confidence interval, 1.10 to 6.07).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Bighorn lambs appeared more susceptible to respiratory disease caused by Pasteurellaceae than did adult sheep. β-Hemolytic Pasteurellaceae isolates were more likely to be associated with respiratory disease than were non–β-hemolytic isolates in adult sheep. Identification of Pasteurellaceae with the greatest pathogenic potential will require studies to estimate the risk of disease from specific biovariants.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Miller's present address is PO Box 2786, Loveland, CO 80539.

Supported in part by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Idaho; the Idaho Department of Fish and Game; and the Program of Economically Important Infectious Animal Diseases, Colorado State University.

Address correspondence to Dr. Weiser (gweiser@uidaho.edu).