In a series of three experiments, isolates of Pasteurella haemolytica biotype A, serotype 2, ribotype reference WSU-1, from healthy domestic sheep, were inoculated intratracheally into eight bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis canadensis) and seven domestic sheep with doses of bacteria ranging from 5.3 × 108 to 8.6 × 1011 colony forming units. Seven of eight inoculated bighorn sheep died from acute pneumonia within 48 hr of inoculation, whereas all seven domestic sheep inoculated with comparable or greater doses of bacteria remained healthy. One contact control bighorn sheep also died 6 days after its penmates received P. haemolytica. Three other noncontact control bighorn sheep remained healthy during the experiments. Pasteurella haemolytica biotype A, serotype 2, ribotype reference WSU-1 in the inocula was recovered from one or more tissues from all bighorns that died; whereas, it was not detected in any bighorn sheep before inoculation. Three different ribotypes of P. haemolytica A2 were recovered from bighorn sheep; however, only the ribotype reference WSU-1 in the domestic sheep-origin inoculum was recovered from all dead bighorn sheep, and was not recovered from bighorn sheep that survived the experiments. Thus, a relatively nonpathogenic and common isolate of P. haemolytica from healthy domestic sheep was lethal in bighorn sheep under experimental conditions.
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