We examined effects of a multivalent Pasteurella haemolytica vaccine (serotypes Al, A2, T10) on humoral immune responses and P. haemolytica isolation rates in bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis). Thirty captive bighorns, divided into groups of three on the basis of age, sex, and previous history of pneumonic pasteurellosis, received 0, 1, or 2 vaccine doses. Mild, transient lameness in most bighorns 1 day after initial vaccination was the only adverse effect observed. Oropharyngeal (≥75%) and nasal (≤50%) isolation rates for P. haemolytica did not differ among treatment groups. Ten of 36 distinguishable biogroup variants accounted for about 87% of the 464 P. haemolytica isolates from bighorns, but prevalences of specific biogroups were not affected by vaccination. Bighorns receiving 1 or 2 vaccine doses showed marked elevations in leukotoxin neutralizing antibody titers beginning 1 wk after vaccination. Agglutinating antibody titers to serotype Al and A2 surface antigens were also elevated in vaccinated bighorns within 2 wk after vaccination; agglutinating antibody titers to serotype T10 surface antigens were relatively high in all three groups but appeared unaffected by vaccination. Vaccination 7 to 14 wk prior to parturition elevated leukotoxin neutralizing antibody titers in colostrum, but neither leukotoxin neutralizing nor serotype Al surface antigen agglutinating antibody titers differed through 16 wk of age among lambs born to dams from different vaccine dose groups. Our data demonstrate that this multivalent P. haemolytica vaccine is safe and stimulates marked antibody responses in bighorn sheep. Further evaluation of this vaccine as a tool in preventing and managing pasteurellosis in bighorn sheep appears warranted.
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