Potential pathogens carried by Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica hispanica) in Southern Spain.
The Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica hispanica) population of southern Spain was surveyed for potential pathogens associated with the conjunctiva, external ear canal, as well as reproductive and upper respiratory tracts. We sampled 321 ibex (131 adult males, 100 adult females, and 90 yearlings); these included 271 apparently healthy animals and 50 that were naturally infected with Sarcoptes scabiei. A total of 688 bacterial isolates were identified (377 gram-negatives, 225 gram-positives, and 86 Mycoplasma spp.); sex, age, location, infection with S. scabiei, and disposition of the animal (free-ranging versus captive) were evaluated as risk factors for infection. Infections with Mycoplasma agalactiae and Mycoplasma arginini were associated with age, having a higher frequency of isolation in young animals. With Escherichia coli, Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida biotype A, and Staphylococcus aureus, significantly higher isolation rates were associated with adults. The isolation frequency for E. coli was higher in females, whereas Moraxella bovis isolations were mostly associated with males. The presence of mange increased the risk of infection with both Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus and M. haemolytica. The geographic origin of sampled animals was related to the isolation of Branhamella ovis, M. agalactiae, and all Pasteurella sp. Isolations of M. haemolytica, P. multocida biotype A, E. coli, and B. ovis were more prevalent in samples from free-ranging rather than captive animals. Of the gram-positive bacteria, S. aureus represented the predominant species isolated from nasal, vaginal, and ocular samples. Mycoplasma agalactiae and M. arginini were the predominant Mycoplasma spp., and both were associated most often with the external ear canal. The most frequently isolated gram-negative bacteria included E. coli, M. haemolytica, P. multocida biotype A, and B. ovis. Isolation rates of gram-negative species varied by source. In nasal samples, M. haemolytica and P. multocida biotype A were isolated most frequently, whereas in ocular and vaginal samples, B. ovis and E. coli, respectively, were most frequently isolated.