Reprinted from Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research. Vol. 63:161 - 165

Pasteurellaceae Isolated from Tonsillar Samples of Commercially-Reared American Bison (Bison bison)

Alton C.S. Ward1, Neil W. Dyer2, and Bradley W. Fenwick3
University of Idaho, Caldwell; 2North Dakota State University, Fargo;
3Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Manhattan


As commercial producers of American bison (Bison bison) become more numerous, concerns relative to bison health management increase.  Since loss due to respiratory disease associated with Pasteurella and related Pasteurellaceae is a major concern for cattle producers, a study was conduced to determine what types of Pasteurellaceae are carried by bison to evaluate the potential of pneumonic pasteurellosis in bison herds where management practices are comparable to those used for cattle.  Tonsillar biopsies, collected in May (n = 29) and August (n = 25) 1997 from 24- to 30-month-old bison bulls, at the time of slaughter were cultured for Pasteurellaceae.  Pasteurella spp. were isolated from all the samples collected in May.  These included isolates identified as P. haemolytica, trehalosi, testudinis, and multocida subsp. multocida a and multocida b.  Actinobacillus spp. and Haemophilus somnus were also isolated from some samples.  Pasteurella spp., haemolytica, trehalosi, and multocida subsp. multocida a, multocida b and septica, plus 2 non-speciated indole-positive biotypes, U2 and U16, were isolated from the second group of tonsil samples.  Most of these organisms, including P. haemolytica, P. multocida subsp., and H. somnus are associated with disease in domestic livestock and should be regarded as potential pathogens for bison, particularly in animals which become stressed by management practices commonly used with cattle, such as herding, crowding, and shipping.

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