Pasteurella spp. were isolated from feral goats and free-ranging bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis canadensis) in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area bordering Idaho, Oregon, and Washington (USA). Biovariant 1 Pasteurella haemolytica organisms were isolated from one goat and one of two bighorn sheep found in close association. Both isolates produced leukotoxin and had identical electrophoretic patterns of DNA fragments following cutting with restriction endonuclease HaeIII. Similarly Pasteurella multocida multocida a isolates cultured from the goat and one of the bighorn sheep had D type capsules, serotype 4 somatic antigens, produced dermonecrotoxin and had identical HaeIII electrophoretic profiles. A biovariant Uβ P. haemolytica strain isolated from two other feral goats, not known to have been closely associated with bighorn sheep, did not produce leukotoxin but had biochemical utilization and HaeIII electrophoretic profiles identical to those of isolates from bighorn sheep. It was concluded that identical Pasteurella strains were shared by the goats and bighorn sheep. Although the direction of transmission could not be established, evidence suggests transmission of strains from goats to bighorn sheep. Goats may serve as a reservoir of Pasteurella strains that may be virulent in bighorn sheep; therefore, goats in bighorn sheep habitat should be managed to prevent contact with bighorn sheep. Bighorn sheep which have nose-to-nose contact with goats should be removed from the habitat.
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Vol. 39 • No. 4