The prevalence and phenotypic variability of Pasteurella and Mannheimia isolates from Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis sierrae), White Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni), and domestic sheep (Ovis aries) from California, USA, were compared. The White Mountain bighorn sheep population had a recent history of pneumonia-associated mortality, whereas the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep population had no recent history of pneumonia-associated mortality. The domestic sheep flocks were pastured in areas geographically near both populations but were not known to have direct contact with either bighorn sheep population. Oropharyngeal swab samples were collected from healthy domestic and bighorn sheep and cultured to characterize bacterial species, hemolysis, biogroups, and biovariants. Pasteurella trehalosi and Mannheimia haemolytica were detected in all of the study populations, but the relative proportion of each bacterial species differed among sheep populations. Pasteurella trehalosi was more common than M. haemolytica in the bighorn sheep populations, whereas the opposite was true in domestic sheep. Mannheimia haemolytica was separated into 11 biogroups, and P. trehalosi was characterized into two biogroups. Biogroup distributions for M. haemolytica and P. trehalosi differed among the three populations; however, no difference was detected for the distribution of P. trehalosi biogroups between the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and domestic sheep. The prevalence odds ratios (pOR) for the distribution of M. haemolytica biogroups suggested little difference between White Mountain bighorn sheep and domestic sheep compared with Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and domestic sheep, although these comparisons had relatively large confidence intervals for the point estimates. Hemolytic activity of the isolates was not different among the sheep populations for M. haemolytica but was different for P. trehalosi. No clear evidence of association was found in the Pasteurellaceae distribution between the White Mountains bighorn sheep and domestic sheep.
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Vol. 45 • No. 4