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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


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


Functional roles of domestic and wild host populations in infectious keratoconjunctivitis (IKC) epidemiology have been extensively discussed claiming a domestic reservoir for the more susceptible wild hosts, however, based on limited data. With the aim to better assess IKC epidemiology in complex host-pathogen alpine systems, the long-term infectious dynamics and molecular epidemiology of Mycoplasma conjunctivae was investigated in all host populations from six study areas in the Pyrenees and one in the Cantabrian Mountains (Northern Spain). Detection of M. conjunctivae was performed by qPCR on 3600 eye swabs collected during seven years from hunted wild ungulates and sympatric domestic sheep (n = 1800 animals), and cluster analyses of the strains were performed including previous reported local strains. Mycoplasma conjunctivae was consistently detected in three Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra p. pyrenaica) populations, as well as in sheep flocks (17.0% of sheep) and occasionally in mouflon (Ovis aries musimon) from the Pyrenees (22.2% in one year/area); statistically associated with ocular clinical signs only in chamois. Chamois populations showed different infection dynamics with low but steady prevalence (4.9%) and significant yearly fluctuations (0.0%- 40.0%). Persistence of specific M. conjunctivae strain clusters in wild host populations is demonstrated for six and nine years. Cross-species transmission between chamois and sheep and chamois and mouflon were also sporadically evidenced. Overall, independent M. conjunctivae sylvatic and domestic cycles occurred at the wildlife-livestock interface in the alpine ecosystems from the Pyrenees with sheep and chamois as the key host species for each cycle, and mouflon as a spill-over host. Host population characteristics and M. conjunctivae strains resulted in different epidemiological scenarios in chamois, ranging from the fading out of the mycoplasma to the epidemic and endemic long-term persistence. These findings highlight the capacity of M. conjunctivae to establish diverse interactions and persist in host populations, also with different transmission conditions.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Infectious disease, Chamois, Domestic sheep, Ovis, Pyrenees, Sheep, Mouflon


The objective of this study was to clarify the typical architecture and morphological variations of cervical sympathetic trunk (CST) in sheep during fetal period. Components of CST were examined on both sides of 40 male and female sheep fetuses aged from 60-140 days under a stereomicroscope. Skeletotopy and frequency of presence of cranial cervical ganglion (CCG), syntopy of cervical ganglia, and composition and topography of vagosympathetic trunk were consistent among specimens whereas the shape of cervical ganglia, the skeletotopy and number of three middle cervical ganglia (MG), and the frequency of communicating branches of CCG to the first cervical spinal nerve exhibited differences during fetal period. A reduction in the number of MG and the caudal movement of main MG were noted by increasing fetal age. Based on these detailed findings, comparative and developmental anatomy and evolutionary changes are discussed and compared with previous studies. The number of MG, skeletotopy of CCG and main MG, the number and range of communicating branches of CCG to spinal nerves, and the association of vagus and sympathetic nerves in fetal sheep were fundamentally different from those of mostly reported species. These results suggest that data obtained from CST of fetal sheep are significantly different from those obtained from humans, and it is problematic to apply them to humans because of the more cranial position of CCG, very narrow contribution of CCG to spinal nerve, absence of the vertebral ganglion, existence of multiple MG, and no communicating branches from MG to spinal nerves. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Nervous system, Developmental biology, Cranial nerves, Nerve, Spinal nerve, Sheep, Spinal nerves, Paravertebral ganglia


This study investigates the use of Scanning electron microscopy-energy-dispersive X-ray (SEM-EDX) as a diagnostic tool for the determination of the osseous origin of samples subjected to different temperatures. Sheep (Ovis aries) ribs of two experimental groups (fleshed and defleshed) were burned at temperatures of between 100°C and 1100°C in 100°C increments and subsequently analyzed with the SEM-EDX to determine the atomic percentage of present elements. Three-factor ANOVA analysis showed that neither the exposure temperature, nor whether the burning occurred with or without soft tissue present had any significant influence on the bone’s overall elemental makeup (p > 0.05). The Ca/P ratio remained in the osseous typical range of between 1.6 and 2.58 in all analyzed samples. This demonstrates that even faced with high temperatures, the overall gross elemental content and atomic percentage of elements in bone remain stable, creating a unique “fingerprint” for osseous material, even after exposure to extreme conditions.

Concepts: Light, Heart, Chemical element, Debut albums, Electron configuration, Domestic sheep, Ovis, Sheep


In recent years, sheep (Ovis aries) have emerged as a useful animal model for neurological research due to their relatively large brain and blood vessel size, their cortical architecture, and their docile temperament. However, the functional anatomy of sheep brain is not as well studied as that of non-human primates, rodents, and felines. For example, while the location of the sheep motor cortex has been known for many years, there have been few studies of the somatotopy of the motor cortex and there were a range of discrepancies across them. The motivation for this review is to provide a definitive resource for studies of the sheep motor cortex. This work critically reviews the literature examining the organization of the motor cortex in sheep, utilizing studies that have applied direct electrical stimulation and histological methods A clearer understanding of the sheep brain will facilitate and progress the use of this species as a scientific animal model for neurological research.

Concepts: Chromosome, Mammal, Primate, Anatomy, Domestic sheep, Ovis, Sheep, Mouflon


An accurate and simple-to-perform new version of a competitive ELISA (cELISA) kit that became commercially available in 2015 for testing of cattle for antibody to Anaplasma marginale was validated for detection of Anaplasma ovis antibody in domestic sheep. True positives and negatives were identified using nested PCR (nPCR) as the gold standard. Negative bovine control sera supplied with the kit were used to calculate % inhibition (%I), designated bovine control ELISA (BcELISA), and this was compared to %I calculated from negative ovine sera derived from hand-raised, pathogen-free sheep, designated ovine control ELISA (OcELISA). The receiver operating characteristics area under the curve was 1.0 with a p value <0.001 regardless of the source of the control sera. The cutoff values for negative BcELISA and OcELISA were <30%I and <27%I, respectively. Our work confirmed that this Anaplasma antibody cELISA kit version 2 can be used with the serum controls supplied in the kit to test for A. ovis antibody in domestic sheep. Furthermore, this work confirmed the historically high infection prevalence (>93%) at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station (Dubois, Idaho), in spite of efforts to reduce the possibility for iatrogenic transmission there, suggesting high levels of tick-borne transmission.

Concepts: ELISA, Receiver operating characteristic, Livestock, Domestic sheep, Ovis, Sheep, Mouflon, Dubois, Idaho


Paratuberculosis (PTB) or Johne’s disease is a common ruminant infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP). In this study, two MAP antigens were compared for their diagnostic utility to detect subclinical PTB in a sheep flock in Mexicali, Mexico. Sheep (n = 31) without clinical signs but positive on a direct fecal-polymerase chain reaction were tested with two preabsorbed in-house enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) using: (1) an ethanol-extracted surface lipid antigen (EVELISA) and (2) a protoplasmic antigen (ELISA-PPA). Sensitivities of the EVELISA and ELISA-PPA were 84% (95% CI; 66-95%) and 29% (95% CI; 14-48%), respectively. The EVELISA test could be a fast and effective way to identify subclinical ovine PTB for severely affected flocks.

Concepts: Infectious disease, Bacteria, Infection, Tuberculosis, ELISA, Mycobacterium avium complex, Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, Sheep