Four domestic goats (Capra hircus) that were passing first-stage dorsal-spined larvae of Muellerius capillaris were copastured on a 0.82-ha pasture for 11 mo from May 2003 to April 2004 with seven Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) that were not passing dorsal-spined larvae. During the 11-mo experiment, two bighorn sheep died from pneumonia caused by Mannheimia (Pasteurella) haemolytica biotype A, serotype 2. The remaining five bighorn sheep and the four domestic goats remained healthy throughout the experiment. Muellerius larvae were detected from all domestic goats on a monthly basis throughout the experiment and were first detected from all five surviving bighorn sheep approximately 5 mo after the copasturing began. Once the bighorn sheep began passing Muellerius larvae, larvae were detected in low numbers from all bighorn sheep every month thereafter for the 6 mo the goats were still in the enclosure and continued to pass larvae for more than 3 yr after the goats were removed from the experiment. Six bighorn sheep in two similar enclosures that did not contain goats did not pass Muellerius larvae before, during, or after the experimental period. Results of this experiment indicate that M. capillaris from domestic goats is capable of infecting bighorn sheep when animals are copastured together on a common range.
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Vol. 45 • No. 2