Peripheral blood neutrophils from horses, cattle, and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis canadensis) were evaluated for susceptibility to cytotoxin-dependent lysis of different biotypes and serotypes of Pasteurella haemolytica of domestic sheep, cattle, bighorn sheep, or mountain goat (Oreamnos americana) origin utilizing a cytotoxicity assay which measures the degree of bacteria cytotoxin-killing of neutrophils. All isolates of P haemolytica (biotypes A and T) were noncytotoxic to horse neutrophils. Thirteen of 18 P. haemolytica biotype A isolates were cytotoxic (>50% neutrophil death in vitro) to bighorn sheep neutrophils, and four of 10 P. haemolytica biotype A isolates were cytotoxic to neutrophils of cattle; P. haemolytica biotype T (= Pasteurella trehelosi) isolates were noncytotoxic to neutrophils of bighorn sheep and cattle. When six bighorn sheep were pastured with three horses, only P. haemolytica biotype T isolates were recovered from the bighorn sheep throughout the study; Pasteurella spp. organisms were not isolated from the three horses. At initiation of a study where five bighorn sheep were pastured with three cattle, P. haemolytica biotype A, serotype 1, 2 was isolated from all three cattle, and only P. haemolytica biotype T isolates were recovered from the bighorn sheep. One bighorn sheep died in each of the horse and cattle copasturing experiments. Pasteurella haemolytica was not isolated from the bighorn sheep which died in the horse copasturing experiment. A noncytotoxic P. haemolytica biotype A, serotype 2 was isolated at necropsy from the bighorn which died in the cattle contact experiment. Based on these experiments, we believe bighorn sheep and horse association would not be detrimental to bighorns due to P. haemolytica induced pneumonia.
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