The antibody responses of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) infested with Psoroptes sp. mites were investigated by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay on western blots of P. cuniculi antigens. Serum from 20 Psoroptes sp.-infested bighorn sheep (O. canadensis mexicana, O. canadensis nelsoni, O. canadensis canadensis) from New Mexico, Nevada, California, and Idaho reacted strongly with mite antigens ranging from 12 to 34 kd. Serum from 35 Psoroptes sp.-free bighorn sheep of unknown tick infestation status and from three Psoroptes sp.-free bighorn sheep infested with Dermacentor hunteri ticks did not react with these antigens. Psoroptes sp.-specific antibody responses were present throughout a 16 mo period in one infested bighorn sheep, but were not detectable 8 mo following successful treatment. These results demonstrate that specific serodiagnosis of Psoroptes sp. infestation is feasible in bighorn sheep and suggest that antibody responses are indicative of current or recent infestation.
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Vol. 27 • No. 1