Flock and Herd logo


Bacterial Rhinitis in Merino Ewes

Eliz Braddon, DV RLPB Young and E Bunker & D Lawler, DPI NSW

Posted Flock & Herd May 2007


Two animals from a mob of 350 ewes showed severe nasal discharge, a necrotic swollen nasal plane and upper lip, and weight loss. One animal died, the second animal was euthanized a day after showing severe bleeding from the nostrils.

Image of sheep snout with crusty lesions

Post-mortem findings

Autopsy revealed severely necrotic nasal turbinates in the right nasal cavity and inflammation of the nasal mucosa on the left side. There was tremendous swelling in comparison to the other side. Bacterial lesions are visible as white plaques on the mucosa.


On histopathology a severe multifocal chronic pyogranulomatous rhinitis was found. The conchae were severely thickened with mild neutrophilic infiltrates within the respiratory epithelium, and extensive neutrophilic infiltrates containing bacterial colonies resembling club colonies, surrounded by macrophages and extensive fibrous tissue, in the lamina propria and submucosa.

Bacterial culture of turbinate bone lesions showed profuse predominant growth of Vibrio cholerae. The cultures were sent to the Salmonella Reference Lab at IMVS Adelaide and identified as non-01 non-0139 Vibrio cholerae using serotyping and 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing.


This property had been hit with flooding rains in February 2007 and a lot of paddock debris and fecal contamination occurred in dams across this area. Perhaps this has lead to the exposure of these ewes to Vibrio. There have been no more cases reported of this kind from this property or any others near it.


Site contents and design Copyright 2006-2023©