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The reindeer abomasal nematode (Ostertagia gruehneri) is naturally transmitted to sheep when sharing pastures

Abstract

The increasing number of sheep (Ovis aries) in northern Finland, often alternately corralled with winter-fed reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus), creates potential for cross-infection of gastrointestinal nematodes. The aim of this study was to elucidate this possibility with 43 animals. Eleven reindeer and 8 sheep had shared a corral by turns, reindeer during winters, and sheep in summers. Another 12 reindeer had no known contact with sheep. Twelve sheep had no close contact to other ruminants. Both reindeer groups were free-ranging during summers. During slaughter in September to November, 2003, abomasa and parts of intestines were collected. Gastrointestinal nematodes were counted and identified. The species found were the following: in reindeer, Ostertagia gruehneri/Ostertagia arctica, Mazamastrongylus dagestanica, Nematodirus tarandi, Nematodirella longissimespiculata and Bunostomum trigonocephalum; in sheep, Teladorsagia circumcincta/Teladorsagia trifurcata, O. gruehneri/O. arctica, Nematodirus filicollis and N. spathiger. In the sheep sharing corral with reindeer, the only abomasal nematode species found was O. gruehneri, a reindeer parasite. The generation interval of O. gruehneri in Finnish reindeer appears to be shorter than in Canadian Arctic caribou, where complete larval inhibition leading to only one generation yearly has been reported.

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Animal rights statement

No experimental animals were used in the study as all material was collected from a slaughterhouse after normal slaughter procedure.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they do not recognize any conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Antti Oksanen.

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Manninen, S., Thamsborg, S.M., Laaksonen, S. et al. The reindeer abomasal nematode (Ostertagia gruehneri) is naturally transmitted to sheep when sharing pastures. Parasitol Res 113, 4033–4038 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-014-4071-x

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Keywords

  • Reindeer
  • Sheep
  • Gastrointestinal nematode parasites
  • Cross-infection