In April 2014, poor fertility in a major commercial goose breeder operation in California triggered the submission of six live affected Toulouse ganders (Anser anser) to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, Turlock branch (University of California–Davis). Toulouse were principally affected among all breeds, and their egg fertility dropped from 65.7% to less than 33.9% in the first 40 days of the 2014 breeding season. The flock consisted of 410 adult birds, 90 males and 320 females, between 2 and 5 yr of age. Inspection of the flock revealed that 44.4% of the Toulouse ganders had severe phallic deformities that prevented them from mating. At postmortem examination, severe yellowish fibrocaseous exudate disrupted the architecture of the phallus and occasionally produced fistulating tracts through the wall of the organ. Microscopically, multifocal lymphoid nodules were noted in the mucosa and submucosa of the phallus and were associated with extensive granulomatous reaction, intralesional bacteria, and spermatozoa. Mycoplasma spp. were isolated from the phallus of affected and nonaffected birds, and PCR protocols targeting the 16S–23S ribosomal RNA intergenic spacer regions and the RNA polymerase beta subunit gene were performed to identify the isolates. Three distinct species were identified on sequencing and analysis using the National Center for Biotechnology Information basic local alignment search tool: Mycoplasma cloacale, Mycoplasma anseris, and an unknown novel Mycoplasma sp. Additionally, Pasteurella multocida, in combination with other bacteria, was also isolated from the phallic lesions and identified as serotype 3 with a DNA profile of 1511 (National Veterinary Service Laboratory). This is the first report of these Mycoplasma spp. and other bacteria associated with reproductive disease in ganders in the United States.
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Vol. 60 • No. 2