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Chlamydia pecorum detection in aborted and stillborn lambs from Western Australia

Clune, T., Besier, S., Hair, S., Hancock, S.ORCID: 0000-0002-4115-4642, Lockwood, A., Thompson, A.ORCID: 0000-0001-7121-7459, Jelocnik, M. and Jacobson, C.ORCID: 0000-0001-9427-1941 (2021) Chlamydia pecorum detection in aborted and stillborn lambs from Western Australia. Veterinary Research, 52 . Article 84.

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Lamb survival is an important welfare and productivity issue for sheep industries worldwide. Lower lamb survival has been reported for primiparous ewes, but the causes of this are not well studied. The aim of this study was to determine causes of perinatal deaths for lambs born to primiparous ewes in Western Australia, and identify if infectious diseases are implicated. Lamb mortality from birth to marking were determined for 11 primiparous ewe flocks on 10 farms in Western Australia. Lamb mortality from birth to marking averaged 14% for single-born and 26% for multiple-born lambs. Lamb necropsies (n = 298) identified starvation–mismosthering–exposure (34%), dystocia (24%) and stillbirth (15%) as the most common causes of perinatal lamb death. There was no evidence of exotic abortigenic pathogens in aborted and stillborn lambs (n = 35). Chlamydia pecorum was detected by qPCR in 15/35 aborted and stillborn lambs on 5/6 farms. Preliminary molecular characterisation of C. pecorum detected in samples from aborted and stillborn lambs (n = 8) using both Multilocus Sequence Typing and ompA genotyping indicated all strains were genetically identical to previously described pathogenic livestock strains, denoted ST23, and dissimilar to gastrointestinal strains. High frequency of detection of a pathogenic C. pecorum strains ST23 associated with ovine abortion and stillbirth on multiple farms located across a wide geographic area has not been previously reported. Chlamydia pecorum may contribute to reproductive wastage for primiparous sheep in Western Australia. Further investigation to understand C. pecorum epidemiology and impact on sheep reproduction is warranted.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Animal Production and Health
Publisher: BMC part of Springer Nature
Copyright: © The Author(s) 2021
United Nations SDGs: Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
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