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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Identification of a Haemomycoplasma Species in Anemic Reindeer (Rangifer Tarandus)

Authors
item Stoffregen, William
item Alt, David
item Palmer, Mitchell
item Olsen, Steven
item Waters, Wade
item Stasko, Judith
item Peterson Burch, Brooke

Submitted to: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 20, 2006
Publication Date: April 20, 2006
Citation: Stoffregen, W.C., Alt, D.P., Palmer, M.V., Olsen, S.C., Waters, W.R., Stasko, J.A., Peterson Burch, B.D. 2006. Identification of a Haemomycoplasma Species in Anemic Reindeer (Rangifer Tarandus). Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 42(2):249-258.

Interpretive Summary: Haemomycoplasma organisms are bacteria which infect the red blood cells of numerous domestic and wild animal species. These organisms can be associated with anemia, decreased growth, and decreased production. In certain populations (very young animals, immunocompromised animals, and splenectomized animals) the disease syndrome caused by these organisms can be fatal. The work presented in this paper describes a newly discovered haemomycoplasma organism in reindeer. This organism was found to be a haemomycoplasma by genetic sequencing. The appearance of the organism on whole blood preparations by light and electron microscopy closely resembles previously described haemomycoplasmas in other animal species. The organism was diagnosed in 13 reindeer in Iowa and one reindeer in Tennessee. This diagnosis was associated with anemia in many of these animals. These findings would be of particular interest to reindeer producers. Reindeer are not only a hobby species in the United States but are a staple food source of many people, including Native American populations, in Alaska, as well as indigenous populations in Canada, Greenland, and the European and Asiatic Arctic and Subarctic regions.

Technical Abstract: During an 18 month period (May2002-November 2003), 10 animals in a herd of 19 reindeer experienced episodes of anemia. These animals had histories of weight loss, unthriftiness, and occasionally edema of dependent parts. Complete blood counts (CBCs) from the affected animals revealed moderate anemia characterized by microcytosis or macrocytosis, hypochromasia, schistocytosis, keratocytosis, acanthocytosis, and dacryocytosis. Numerous basophilic punctate to ring-shaped bodies which measured less than 1.0 'm were found on the surface of RBCs and were often observed encircling the outer margins of the cells. Based on these cytologic findings, DNA preparations from selected affected animals in the NADC herd and one animal from a private herd which was experiencing similar episodes of anemia were assayed by PCR for the presence of hemotropic bacteria. Primers from the 16s rRNA genes of Mycoplasma (Eperythrozoon) suis, Mycoplasma (Haemobartonella) haemofelis, Anaplasma marginale, Anaplasma spp., and Ehrlichia spp. were used. Four affected animals had positive reactions using primers specific for the 16s rRNA gene of M. haemofelis and M. haemocanis. The product from one of the animals was sequenced and internal primers were designed from the resulting sequence for a nested PCR assay. Samples from 10 reindeer were positive in the nested PCR reaction. The products from the nested PCR assay from seven animals were sequenced. BLAST searches and phylogenetic analysis were performed on the resulting sequences. Six animals had an organism which was most closely related to M. ovis, M. wenyonii , and M. haemolamae. One animal had organisms which were most closely related to M. haemofelis and M. haemocanis. This represents the first identification of a haemomycoplasma species in reindeer. Although several of these animals were also infected with abomasal nematodes, the presence of this newly described haemomycoplasma may have contributed to the anemic syndrome.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014
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