Mycoplasma species and related organisms isolated from ruminants in Britain between 1990 and 2000.
Between 1990 and 2000, more than 1600 mycoplasmas and the related acholeplasmas were identified from ruminant animals by the Mycoplasma Group at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency - Weybridge. Mycoplasma bovis was the most commonly identified pathogen, mostly from pneumonic calves but occasionally from cattle with mastitis and arthritis. Mycoplasma canis was first isolated in Britain in 1995 from pneumonic calves and the number of isolates increased to 18 per cent of the total mycoplasmas isolated from cattle in 1999. The ELISA for antibodies to M. bovis detected 1971 positive samples (22 per cent) among 8959 serum samples, mainly from pneumonic cattle. Other mycoplasmas identified included Mycoplasma dispar from the lungs of cattle with respiratory disease, and Mycoplasma bovigenitalium from the reproductive tract of cows with vulvovaginitis and infertility. Mycoplasma bovirhinis and Acholeplasma species were found commonly but are thought to be more opportunistic than pathogenic. In sheep and goats, the majority of Mycoplasma species isolated were identified as Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae from pneumonic sheep, Mycoplasma conjunctivae from sheep with keratoconjunctivitis, and the ubiquitous Mycoplasma arginini.