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Risk factors and productivity losses associated with Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae infection in United States domestic sheep operations

April 15, 2019

Association of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae with pneumonia in domestic small ruminants has been described in Europe, Asia, and New Zealand but has received less attention in the United States. In 2011, the US Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Monitoring Survey detected M. ovipneumoniae shedding in 88% of 453 domestic sheep operations tested in 22 states that accounted for 85.5% of US ewe inventory in 2001. We evaluated factors associated with M. ovipneumoniae infection presence and prevalence, and we compared health, lamb production, and ewe losses in in-fected and uninfected operations. M. ovipneumoniae detection was more common in larger opera-tions than in smaller operations. Both likelihood of detection (at the operation level) and within-operation prevalence were higher in operations with more open management practices than in oper-ations with more closed management practices. M. ovipneumoniae-positive operations showed sig-nificantly lower lambing rates and lower rates of lamb survival to weaning after accounting for dif-ferences in operation size and management practice. While its effect on any single rate was not par-ticularly large, in aggregate we estimated that M. ovipneumoniae presence was associated with an approximately 4.3% reduction in annual lamb production.