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Concept: Sheep


Sheep scab is an intensively pruritic, exudative and allergic dermatitis of sheep caused by the ectoparasitic mite Psoroptes ovis. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of P. ovis infestation on different components of the ovine epidermal barrier within the first 24 hours post-infestation (hpi). To achieve this, the expression of epidermal differentiation complex (EDC) genes and epidermal barrier proteins, the nature and severity of epidermal pathology and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) were evaluated.By 1 hpi a significant dermal polymorphonuclear infiltrate and a significant increase in TEWL with maximal mean TEWL (598.67 g/m2h) were observed. Epidermal pathology involving intra-epidermal pustulation, loss of epidermal architecture and damage to the basement membrane was seen by 3 hpi. Filaggrin and loricrin protein levels in the stratum corneum declined significantly in the first 24 hpi and qPCR validation confirmed the decrease in expression of the key EDC genes involucrin, filaggrin and loricrin observed by microarray analysis, with 5.8-fold, 4.5-fold and 80-fold decreases, respectively by 24 hpi.The present study has demonstrated that early P. ovis infestation disrupts the ovine epidermal barrier causing significant alterations in the expression of critical barrier components, epidermal pathology, and TEWL. Many of these features have also been documented in human and canine atopic dermatitis suggesting that sheep scab may provide a model for the elucidation of events occurring in the early phases of atopic sensitisation.

Concepts: Protein, Allergy, C-reactive protein, Domestic sheep, Ovis, Sheep, Glossary of sheep husbandry, Sheep husbandry


SUMMARY Ivermectin (IVE), one of the most important anthelmintics, is often used in the treatment of haemonchosis in ruminants. The objective of our work was (1) to find and identify phase I and II metabolites of IVE formed by the Barber’s pole worm (Haemonchus contortus), and (2) to compare IVE metabolites in helminths with IVE biotransformation in sheep (Ovis aries) as host species. Ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC/MS/MS) was used for this purpose. During in vitro incubations, microsomes (from adult worms or from ovine liver) and a primary culture of ovine hepatocytes were incubated with IVE. In the ex vivo study, living H. contortus adults were incubated in the presence of 1 μM IVE for 24 h. The results showed that the H. contortus enzymatic system is not able to metabolize IVE. On the other hand, 7 different phase I as well as 9 phase II IVE metabolites were detected in ovine samples using UHPLC/MS/MS analyses. Most of these metabolites have not been described before. Haemonchus contortus is not able to deactivate IVE through biotransformation; therefore, biotransformation does not contribute to the development of IVE-resistance in the Barber’s pole worm.

Concepts: Metabolism, In vivo, Domestic sheep, Haemonchus contortus, Ovis, Sheep, Mouflon, Barber's pole


The highly prolific breeds of domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are globally valuable genetic resources for sheep industry. Genetic, nutritional and other environmental factors affect prolificacy traits in sheep. To improve our knowledge of the sheep prolificacy traits, we conducted mRNA-miRNA integrated profiling of ovarian tissues from two pure breeds with large (Finnsheep) vs. small (Texel) litter sizes and their F1 crosses, half of which were fed a flushing diet.

Concepts: RNA, Domestic sheep, Ovis, Sheep, Glossary of sheep husbandry, Sheep husbandry, Mouflon, Texel


Domestic and wild sheep are the natural reservoirs for ovine gammaherpesvirus 2 (OvHV-2), the causative agent of sheep-associated malignant catarrhal fever (SA-MCF). Virtually all adult sheep are infected with OvHV-2 under natural flock conditions, and infection is normally subclinical. MCF-like clinical signs and typical histologic lesions in sheep have been linked during case investigations at veterinary diagnostic laboratories; however, the confirmation of naturally occurring MCF in sheep is problematic. To date, the assays for detection of OvHV-2-specific antibodies or DNA are usually positive in sheep, regardless of health status, so mere detection of antibodies or the agent is of minimal diagnostic significance in this species. We document herein a naturally occurring MCF case in a 4-mo-old domestic lamb and demonstrate that the affected animal had 100-1,000 times more OvHV-2 copy numbers in tissues than in healthy adult and age-matched sheep. These results indicate that high copy numbers of viral DNA in tissues associated with characteristic lesions can be used to confirm the diagnosis of MCF in sheep.

Concepts: Biology, Medical terms, Chromosome, Infection, Number, Domestic sheep, Lamb and mutton, Sheep


Global data regarding the molecular epidemiology of Blastocystis sp. and Pentatrichomonas hominis in sheep and goats are sparse. China has one of the largest sheep and goat populations in the world. In this study we investigated the occurrence of Blastocystis sp. and P. hominis in domestic sheep and goats in China, and analyzed the genetic characterization of these two parasite species.

Concepts: Biology, Livestock, Goat, Domestic sheep, Sheep, Chinese zodiac, Browsing, Herbivorous animals


We report Taenia ovis infection in Danish sheep for the first time. In spring 2016, the metacestode stage of T. ovis was at slaughter observed in heart muscles, diaphragm and skeletal muscles from approx. a third of all sheep from one specific farm localised in South Jutland. The diagnosis was confirmed by molecular typing of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I (cox1) gene. Three newly imported dogs were suspected but the definitive host was unidentifiable. The finding is not regulated in the meat control procedures. However, infected meat is usually condemned due to aesthetic reasons causing economic losses. Thus, finding of T. ovis is of concern to sheep meat producers in the area, as the infection could have spread further on to other farms.

Concepts: Mitochondrion, Heart, Cardiac muscle, Cytochrome c, Livestock, Domestic sheep, Ovis, Sheep


The study was carried out in Bensa district of Sidama zone, Southern Ethiopia. Agro-ecologically, the study sites were classified into highland and mid-altitude. The objective of the study was to identify sheep farming practices in relation to future production strategies in the study area. A total of 128 households from four kebeles (lower administrative structure) were selected purposively based on sheep population and production potential and accessibility. Data was collected through semi-structured questionnaire, focus group discussions, and key informants. The result showed that most of the household heads were male (92.75%) and mixed crop-livestock system was the dominant production system. Among the livestock species, sheep accounted for the largest proportion across the two agro ecologies and the average sheep flock size/household was 4.6 ± 0.33 and 22 4.3 ± 0.213 in highland and in mid-altitude, respectively. The primary reason of keeping sheep was for cash income and saving across the two agro ecologies. The major feed resources for sheep during the wet and dry seasons were natural pasture and crop residues respectively across the two agro ecologies. Feed shortages, disease, parasite prevalence, and market were the major sheep production constraints in highland while feed shortage, genotype, disease, parasite prevalence, and market in mid-altitude. It can be concluded that for enhancing future production from sheep in the area, emphasis is to be given on feed availability, disease management, breeding policy, and marketing strategies.

Concepts: Focus group, Ethiopia, Livestock, Production system, Domestic sheep, Sheep, Economic shortage, Sidama Zone


Ovine psoroptic mange (sheep scab) is an infection of substantial economic and animal welfare concern in the UK. Its prevalence has increased rapidly over the last 20 years and management is dependent on a small number of acaricidal compounds, many of which are also used to control a range of other endoparasites and ectoparasites. Here, the effects of the macrocyclic lactone (ML) moxidectin was considered using in vitro assays against mites from four farm populations where persistent treatment failure had been reported: two in West Wales, one from the England/Wales border and one in Herefordshire. The data demonstrate resistance in mites from all four farms. This is the first quantitative evidence of ML resistance in Psoroptes mites in the UK. Given the similarities in their mode of action it is highly likely that cross-resistance across the range of this class of compound will be found. The development of resistance to moxidectin is of considerable concern given the already high prevalence of scab infection in some regions; major difficulties in scab management should be anticipated if ML resistance becomes widely established in the UK.

Concepts: Immune system, Wales, Domestic sheep, Ovis, Sheep, Glossary of sheep husbandry, Sheep husbandry, Veterinary entomology


To address a lack of information on the control of ovine helminth parasites in Northern Ireland (NI), a number of research projects have been undertaken, dealing with gastrointestinal nematodes, tapeworms and liver fluke. This investigation concerns Nematodirus and concentrates on three aspects of disease: farm management strategies for its control, derived from the results of a Questionnaire; the efficacy of treatment used by farmers, as determined by a coprological survey; and the hatching requirements of Nematodirus eggs, that is, whether prolonged chilling is a pre-requisite for hatching.

Concepts: Disease, Parasites, Intestinal parasite, Liver fluke, Domestic sheep, Northern Europe, Belfast, Sheep


The aim of the present study was to characterize milk production and preweaning development of lambs from Katahdin and Saint Croix sheep. Milk production was measured weekly, from birth to 8 weeks using oxytocin technique, in 12 Katahdin (62.0 ± 5.0 kg) and 11 Saint Croix (46.2 ± 4.83 kg) multiparous ewes. The mean daily milk production for the Katahdin ewes was 1.38 ± 0.54 L/day and for the Saint Croix ewes it was 1.26 ± 0.49 L/day (P > 0.05) (mean ± SE for each group). However, more colostrum was produced immediately after parturition by the Katahdin than Saint Croix ewes (P < 0.001). The lamb's weight and weight gain were recorded weekly. The birth weight of lambs from both breeds was similar but at weaning, the Katahdin lambs were heavier (16.46 ± 0.58 kg) than the Saint Croix lambs (12.90 ± 0.59 kg) (P < 0.001). Furthermore, a significant positive correlation was found between daily milk yield and daily gain weight in both breeds, but with a greater slope in Katahdin lambs in comparison with Saint Croix lambs. It was concluded that Saint Croix and Katahdin hair sheep breeds produced similar amounts of milk during lactation, but the latter produced heavier lambs at weaning.

Concepts: Milk, Breastfeeding, Breast milk, Domestic sheep, Ovis, Sheep, Simple Plan, Josie Ho