Severe keratinous hoof afflictions have been recorded in ibex (Capra ibex ibex) since 1995 and more recently in mouflon (Ovis aries musimon) in Switzerland. Based on clinical observations and comparison with diseases known to affect domestic ungulates, it was hypothesized these wild ungulates were affected by foot rot associated with infection with Dichelobacter nodosus. Dichelobacter nodosus has been shown to be the essential pathogen for initiation and establishment of foot rot, a highly contagious foot disease of sheep and goats. Because these bacteria could not be cultivated from affected ibex, we developed a nested polymerase chain reaction that allowed detection of D. nodosus without culture. Using this assay, we were able to diagnose D. nodosus infections of ibex, mouflon, and domestic sheep in natural outbreaks. From these results we conclude that D. nodosus plays an etiological role in foot rot not only in domestic but also in wild Caprinae.

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