Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) sinus tumors are hyperplastic to neoplastic, predominantly stromal masses of the paranasal sinuses that expand the sinus lining and obstruct the sinus cavities. Obstruction of the sinus cavities and disruption of normal sinus lining anatomy may interfere with clearance of bacterial pathogens from the upper respiratory tract. To examine this possibility, we explored whether the presence of sinus tumor features (tumor score) affected the likelihood of detecting potentially pathogenic bacteria from upper respiratory sinus lining tissues in bighorn sheep. We developed or used existing PCR assays for the detection of leukotoxigenic Pasteurellaceae and Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae in sinus lining tissues collected from 97 bighorn sheep in Colorado, US from 2009 to 2012. With the use of logistic regression analyses we found that tumor score was a good predictor of the probability of detecting potentially pathogenic bacteria in sinus lining tissues; we were more likely to detect potentially pathogenic bacteria from samples with high tumor scores. These findings add to our understanding of possible mechanisms for the maintenance and shedding of bacterial agents from the upper respiratory tracts of bighorn sheep.
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Vol. 51 • No. 1