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Vet Pathol. 1983 May;20(3):274-90.

Pathology of spontaneous and experimental infection of North American wild ruminants with Mycobacterium paratuberculosis.


Spontaneous paratuberculosis was studied in free-ranging and captive bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), and Rocky Mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus). Lesions of paratuberculosis in these species resembled the disease in domestic sheep and goats. Mycobacterium paratuberculosis cultured from bighorn sheep was used to orally infect bighorn x mouflon (Ovis musimon) hybrid sheep, elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Clinical paratuberculosis developed only in mule deer and was characterized by poor growth and diarrhea. Gross lesions were mild in all species. Enlargement of mesenteric lymph nodes was mild to moderate; the wall of the distal small intestine was affected minimally. Focal to diffuse infiltrates of epithelioid macrophages and giant cells occurred in the cortex of mesenteric lymph nodes, around mesenteric lymphatics, and in the intestinal mucosa. Extraintestinal lymph nodes, spleen, liver, and lung were involved in some animals; focal necrosis and mineralization was present in all species but was severe and widespread in the cervids.

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