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.