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Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2011, Article ID 162520, 12 pages
Research Article

Shared Bacterial and Viral Respiratory Agents in Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis), Domestic Sheep (Ovis aries), and Goats (Capra hircus) in Montana

1Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
2University of Idaho, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Caine Veterinary Teaching Center, 1020 East Homedale Road, Caldwell, ID 83607, USA
3Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 1400 South 19th Avenue, Bozeman, MT 59715, USA
4Wildlife Conservation Society, 2023 Stadium Drive, Suite 1A, Bozeman, MT 59715, USA
5Department of Animal & Range Sciences, Montana State University, P.O. Box 172900, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA
6Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10460, USA
7U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1400 S 19th Avenue, Bozeman, MT 59718, USA
8U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, 2327 University Way, Suite 2, Bozeman, MT 59715, USA
9Department of Statistics, Colorado State University, 224 Statistics Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
10National Wildlife Research Center, 4101 La Porte Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA
11Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Western Region, Belgrade, MT 59714, USA

Received 18 July 2011; Accepted 24 August 2011

Academic Editor: Michael Stoskopf

Copyright © 2011 David S. Miller et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Transmission of infectious agents from livestock reservoirs has been hypothesized to cause respiratory disease outbreaks in bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), and land management policies intended to limit this transmission have proven controversial. This cross-sectional study compares the infectious agents present in multiple populations of bighorn sheep near to and distant from their interface with domestic sheep (O. aries) and domestic goat (Capra hircus) and provides critical baseline information needed for interpretations of cross-species transmission risks. Bighorn sheep and livestock shared exposure to Pasteurellaceae, viral, and endoparasite agents. In contrast, although the impact is uncertain, Mycoplasma sp. was isolated from livestock but not bighorn sheep. These results may be the result of historic cross-species transmission of agents that has resulted in a mosaic of endemic and exotic agents. Future work using longitudinal and multiple population comparisons is needed to rigorously establish the risk of outbreaks from cross-species transmission of infectious agents.