S.E. Knapp, S.E. Marley, S.M. Button & M.C. Rognlie

Veterinary Molecular Biology Laboratory

Montana State University-Bozeman

Bozeman, Montana

Copyright C 1993


This bibliography is the third in a series that catalogs much of the information and research that has been published on parasites and diseases in the American bison, including some excellent review papers and reports. In this volume we have included articles, mostly ones published in scientific journals, that mention in combination the American bison, tuberculosis and the disease as it occurs in North America. We have not included articles about tuberculosis in other animals if bison are not mentioned unless someone has advised us that such an article would have particular value for this bibliography. This list is as complete as we could make it through 1993, however, there were a few references that we were unable to obtain by the time this was printed.

Another decision we had to make was what to do about the numerous unpublished reports that mention the problem of tuberculosis in bison. Most of these are committee, agency or task force reports from various government agencies in Canada or the United States. While the reports contain excellent data and are of great value they are frequently too lengthy to be included with this bibliography. In a few cases we made an exception and included parts of the reports that mention tuberculosis. We would like to compile a bibliography of unpublished reports at a later date.

This volume contains a bibliography numbered and alphabetized by author(s) to the reference papers that follow. The subject index covers general topics that occur in each paper.

We are indebted to the Dr. Ken Throlson American Bison Foundation for the generous support that has helped to make these publications possible.


The bibliography of tuberculosis in bison and related wildlife is given following the subject index in alphabetical order. The following index has been developed to aid in information retrieval. Following each given subject are the identification numbers of the relevant reference papers. Because some categories overlap, some subjects may have common references to others.

     SUBJECT                            REFERENCE PAPER #

     African buffalo                    16
     Anthrax                            4,9,15,25

     Brucellosis                        2-7,9,14,15,18,19,23-27

     Cattle                             1-5,7-9,11,12,14,16,17,
     Control                            3,4,6,8,19,24,29

     Deer                               5,8,12,17,23,24,28,29
     Depopulation                       4,9,11,22,33

     Elk                                1,5,8,10,11,17,20-25,
     Elk Island National Park           3,6,7,9,14,15,17,19,23,24
     Epidemiology                       11,15,26,29
     Eradication                        3,5,8-10,14,15,19,
     Exotic animals                     28,29
     Experimental infection             30

     Game ranching                      5,20,23-25,31,32

     Incidence                          13,18
     Infection rates                    2,4,13,18,19,27,28
     Infection source                   17

     Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary          2,9,14,15,19,27
     Management                         4,6,7,14,15,18,19,25
     Metritis                           7,24,25

     National parks
          Elk Island Park               3,6,7,14,17,19,23
          Wood Buffalo National Park    2,4,6,7,9,14,15,18,
          Yellowstone National Park     3

     Orchitis                           4,7,17,24,25

     Parasites                          6,7,23,26
     Pathology                          8,11,16,18,21,26,29,30,31
     Prevalence                         3,20,23,26,27

     Recovery                           15,19

     Slave River Lowlands               2,4,15
     Susceptibility                     11,13

     Testing                            3-6,8,10,11,17,18,
     Transmission                       3,5,9,15,17,19,29,31
          Bison to cattle               11
          Bison to elk                  20,24
          Cattle to bison               14
          Cattle to deer                12
          Cattle to elk                 20
          Deer to bison                 8
          Elk to bison                  10,22,25
     Treatment                          3,29

     Vaccination                        6,9

     Wainright, Alberta                 2-4,14,17,25
     Wood Buffalo National Park         2,4,6,7,9,13-15,18,
     Yellowstone National Park          3,25


  1. Anonymous. 1985. Bovine tuberculosis in bison. Am. Assoc. of Wildl. Vet. Newsletter. No. 20, January.

    (note: the entire text of the note follows) An outbreak of bovine tuberculosis has been identified in captive bison in South Dakota. Epidemiologic investigations found that the bison herd had been exposed in 1982 to tuberculous ranch elk that were depopulated. Over 370 potentially infected bison were shipped to 87 herds in 20 states exposing over 2,450 additional bison and approximately 4,190 cattle. Eighteen bison herds are now considered infected and control measures are being taken, including payment of indemnity.

  2. Anonymous. 1987. The increasing significance of brucellosis and tuberculosis in bison in the Wood Buffalo National Park Region. Can. Vet. J. 28: 102.

    In 1985, Canada's national cattle herd was declared free of bovine brucellosis, and bovine tuberculosis is expected to be eliminated in the future. The veterinary and public health benefits, and the resulting economic gains, have increasingly offset the high cost and effort needed to achieve the eradication of these major diseases. Extraneous sources of brucellosis and tuberculosis have become correspondingly more important because of the risk of reintroducing the disease back into cattle. The free-ranging bison population in and around Wood Buffalo National Park is considered the final reservoir of both diseases in Canada. Tuberculosis and brucellosis were introduced into the park between 1925 and 1928 when 6,672 plains bison were shipped there from an infected herd near Wainwright, Alberta. Cumulative data from commercial bison slaughters in the park during the 1950's and 1960's show positive Brucella titres in 714 (36%) of 1,999 bison tested, and report TB lesions in 1,079 (34%) of 3,181 bison. At this date, there are ca. 5,000 bison in the Wood Buffalo National Park and 400 in the Slave River Lowlands. A recent survey found evidence of brucellosis in 18 (25%), and TB in 15 (21%), of 72 bison killed in and around the park. The potential for spread of brucellosis and TB is discussed.

  3. Bison Disease Task Force. 1988. Evaluation of brucellosis and tuberculosis in bison in northern Canada. Prepared for the Bison Disease Steering Committee. Federal Environmental Assessment and Review Office, Government of Canada, Ottowa. pp. 4-3 to 4-33, 4-71 to 4-73.

    One section of this book with references is included in the bibliography. The section specifically deals with tuberculosis in the northern bison populations of Canada. The history of tuberculosis infection and control and the importance of eradication to Agriculture Canada is discussed in detail. Additionally, the biology of tuberculosis is reviewed. Specifically analyzed is: prevalence of tuberculosis in several host species, clinical signs of infection and transmission broken down by host species, and treatment, control and prevention.

  4. Broughton, E. 1987. Diseases affecting bison. Bison ecology relation to agricultural development in the Slave River Lowlands, N.W.T.: Can. Wildl. Ser. pp. 34-38. (Used with the permission of the Minister of Supply and Services, Canada, 1992).

    Bison in the Slave River lowlands (SRL) and Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP) have shown high rates of disease infection, primarily with tuberculosis, brucellosis, and anthrax. Examinations and/or testing for tuberculosis and brucellosis in bison were conducted in WBNP between 1950 and 1974 and in the SRL between 1964 and 1974. Tuberculosis infection rates averaged 40% in WBNP (range 15-56%) and varied from 25 to 40% in the SRL. Field examination of bison shot by recreational hunters in 1974 in the SRL revealed a high level of tuberculosis-like lesions. Brucellosis infections rates averaged 30% in WBNP (range 6-62%) and 38% in the SRL. The first outbreak of anthrax killed 281 bison at Hook Lake, Northwest Territories, in July 1962. Attempts to control the disease included depopulation and vaccination. Anthrax and associated control measures have resulted in the death of approximately 1,600 bison in SRL and WBNP since 1962.

  5. Bulmer, W.S. 1989. Canada's captive wild ungulate program. Proc. Ann. Mtg. U.S.A.H.A. 93: 595-598.

    Canada eradicated brucellosis from the national cattle herd in 1985 and the eradication of tuberculosis is imminent. In recent years, an increasing number of wild ungulates such as bison, elk, deer, etc., have been introduced into the more heavily populated areas of Canada and, as a consequence, are coming into close contact with domestic livestock and people. These animals may be infected with brucellosis and/or tuberculosis. Game farms and bison ranches situated among cattle ranches or farms are potential sources of infection to domestic cattle. Also, Agriculture Canada is expected to provide the public with protection against zoonotic threats, especially in petting zoos or roadside exhibits where young children may have intimate contact with animals.

  6. Choquette, L.P.E. 1961. Diseases and parasites of bison. In: Canadian Wildlife Service Research Progress Report, 1961. Dept. of Northern Affairs and National Resources, Ottawa, pp. 42-43. (Used with the permission of the Minister of Supply and Services, Canada, 1992).

    A study in collaboration with the Animal Diseases Research Institute, Canada Department of Agriculture was undertaken in late in 1961. A total of 1,878 bison in Wood Buffalo National Park were tested with tuberculin. A positive reaction was secured in 224 cases, or 11.9% of the animals tested. A total of 491 young animals was also vaccinated against Brucellosis. Altogether, 390 animals, including 224 reactors, were slaughtered and examined thoroughly. All lesions and abnormalities were recorded. The tuberculin test and meat inspection were conducted by officers of the Department of Agriculture. Three hundred and seventy-eight samples of sera collected during the slaughter were tested for Brucellosis and other conditions. A reaction indicating Brucellosis was secured in 161 or 42.32% of the cases.

  7. Choquette, L.P.E., J.F. Gallivan, J.L. Byrne & J. Pilipavicius. 1961. Parasites and diseases of bison in Canada I. Tuberculosis and some other pathological conditions in bison at Wood Buffalo and Elk Island National Parks in the fall and winter of 1959-1960. Can. Vet. J. 2: 168-174.

    Tuberculosis and some other pathological conditions in bison at Wood Buffalo and Elk Island National Parks in the fall and winter of 1959-1960 are discussed. In 1959, 1,116 animals were tested with bovine tuberculin and 151 or 13.5% showed a positive reaction. There were 436 animals slaughtered, and 219 or 50.2% showed tuberculous lesions, and 168 or 76.7% of these showed evidence of infection in the lymph nodes of the head. Metritis was noted in 9 animals, 7 of which were tested with tuberculin and 3 tested positive. Eleven cases of orchitis were recorded in bulls. Nine of these had been tested for brucellosis (rapid serum agglutination technique) and 7 tested positive.

  8. Clifton-Hadley, R.S. & J.W. Wilesmith. 1991. Tuberculosis in deer: A review. Vet. Rec. 129: 5-12.

    In recent years tuberculosis in deer caused by Mycobacterium bovis has become a disease of economic as well as public health importance to the deer farming industries of several countries, in particular those in Denmark, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This paper sets the disease in a historical context and reviews current knowledge about various aspects of the condition, with particular reference to diagnosis and control and to research requirements for the future.

  9. Environmental Assessment Panel. 1990. Northern diseased bison. In: Rep. Environ. Assessment Panel (Canada) 35, Federal Environmental Assessment Review Office (F.E.A.R.O.). 47 pp. (Reproduced by permission of the Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1993).

    The presence of diseased bison in and around Wood Buffalo National Park (the Park), and proposals for controlling or eliminating the diseases, have generated much interest among Canadians living near the Park and throughout the country. This section describes the present situation and its historical development. It is within this context that the problem must be addressed.

  10. Essey, M.A. 1984. Bovine tuberculosis in bison. Proc. Ann. Mtg. U.S.A.H.A. 88: 583-596.

    A bison herd of a South Dakota owner was confirmed with tuberculosis infection in 1984. Eighty-one percent of 237 bison were confirmed reactors. It is believed that the infection entered the herd by infected elk. Bison were shipped to 20 states with the potential to transmit the disease to cattle. This outbreak provides evidence that brucellosis transmits efficiently among bison.

  11. Essey, M.A. & C.D. Stumpff. 1985. Report on the bovine tuberculosis outbreak in bison in the United States. Proc. Ann. Mtg. U.S.A.H.A. 89: 450-457.

    Only vestiges remain of an outbreak of bovine tuberculosis in bison in the United States that was first detected in April 1984. Movements of 485 tuberculosis exposed bison from two primary source herds on South Dakota traced to a total of 115 premises located in 24 states. A total of 21 infected herds located in 10 states were found as the result of the investigations of these movements. An additional 141 secondary exposed bison were traced to 35 owners from the 21 herds infected by primary source bison. No herds were found infected by these secondary movements. Of 130 evaluations completed, 79 (61%) were made by the slaughter, with indemnity, and postmortem examination of tuberculosis exposed animals. Only 12 (9%) recipient herds containing 45 exposed bison received negative evaluations based on negative tuberculin tests of the exposed animals. The authors submit that in those few cases lie the most likely source of recurrence of bovine tuberculosis in the bison population in the future. Epidemiology, pathogenesis, transmissibility, and tuberculin test efficacy for bovine tuberculosis in bison are discussed.

  12. Friend, M., E.T. Kroll & H. Gruft. 1963. Tuberculosis in a wild white- tailed deer. N. Y. Fish Game J. 10: 118-123.

    Bovine tuberculosis was demonstrated in a white-tailed deer killed by a hunter in Delaware County (New York) during the 1961 open season. Mycobacterium bovis was isolated by guinea pig inoculation. The appearance of the lesions is illustrated. Although this disease is rare in wild deer, two other cases were reported in 1934 from the same general locality. Both cattle and deer populations are high and a continuing low incidence of tuberculosis is present in cattle in this area.

  13. Fuller, W.A. 1962. The biology and management of the bison of Wood Buffalo National Park. Canadian Wildlife Service, Wildlife Management Series 1, No. 16. 53 pp. (Used with the permission of the Minister of Supply and Services, Canada, 1992.)

    1. This paper deals with the biology of a herd of hybrid bison (Bison bison bison X B. b. athabascae), with special reference to the effects of tuberculosis on reproduction, mortality, and management. 2. Physical features and biotic conditions in Wood Buffalo Park are described. The present range is considered adequate. Geological and successional changes will result in loss of range in some areas and gains in others. In the foreseeable future, therefore, the carrying capacity is not likely to change drastically, but population shifts are anticipated. 3. Reproduction was studied in detail. A few yearling males may be capable of productive mating, and a few records of pregnant yearling cows were obtained. About one- third of both sexes matures sexually at two years of age, and the balance at three years or older. The conception rate in a sample of cows of mixed ages was 57 per cent in one herd and 76 per cent in another. No multiple pregnancies were observed in a sample of 481 gravid uteri examined. There was no observed correlation between tuberculosis and lower fertility. 4. Calves constituted 20 to 25 per cent of herd strength immediately after the calving season (early July), but less than 10 per cent by late winter. Yearlings constituted 7 to 9 per cent of the herds segregated, and recruitment into the breeding population is estimated to be between 5 and 8 per cent annually. 5. The incidence and effects of tuberculosis are discussed. About 50 per cent of the old animals in the Hay Camp herd showed visible lesions of tuberculosis on post-mortem examination. The incidence was lower in other herds sampled less extensively. There was no significant difference in the incidence in the two sexes, but generalization was more frequent in females than in males. That may be related to the stress of repeated pregnancies. Mortality from tuberculosis is placed at about 5 per cent per year. 6. Other diseases and parasites found at post-mortem included brucellosis, arthritis, orchitis, metritis, lymphosarcoma, pneumonia, renal calculi, Damalinia sedecimdecembrii, Setaria labiato-papillosa and Dictyocaulus(?). 7. Wolf predation was found to be most severe on the aged, calves, and handicapped, and is not, therefore, considered a problem. On the contrary, predation appears desirable to help check a too rapid increase in the number of bison. 8. Accidents and catastrophes are considered of negligible importance as mortality factors. 9. A management scheme is outlined, predicated on a multiple-use concept involving aesthetic values, value as food, trophy value, and desirability of protecting other ungulates from tuberculosis.

  14. Gates, C.C., D.A. Melton & R. McLeod. 1991. Cattle diseases in northern Canadian bison; a complex management issue. Proc. Ongules/Ungulates. 91: 547-550.

    Within a century of the coming of Europeans to western North America in the late 1700's, bison (Bison) were reduced to remnant populations throughout their former range. However by 1919 a restored plains bison (B. b. bison) herd in a small reserve in southern Alberta became overabundant. Despite the knowledge that these animals were infected with tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis), nearly 7000 were shipped north into the southern end of the wood bison (B. b. athabascae) range. Tuberculosis and brucellosis (Brucella abortus) were introduced to the northern bison population and the plains bison hybridized with the wood bison. By 1991 the number of disease-exposed hybrid bison had declined to approximately 4000 animals, with a number of factors including disease implicated. During the same period a sub-population of disease-free animals salvaged from individuals morphologically similar to wood bison, has grown to over 2000 in the far northern part of their range. Our paper reviews recent initiatives to develop a management plan to protect domestic stock, disease-free bison and people from brucellosis and tuberculosis. Our Department's goal is to see healthy herds of bison restored as a major component of the regional ecosystem. We describe a co-management structure with majority regional native membership, which we believe will steer management towards this goal. The pros and cons of attempting to restore healthy bison herds from salvaged stock are discussed with reference to the principles of conserving biological diversity.

  15. Gates, C.C., T. Chowns & H. Reynolds. 1992. Wood buffalo at the crossroads. In: J. Foster, D. Harrison and I.S. MacLaren (eds.), Alberta: Studies in the Arts and Sciences, Vol. 3, Special Issue on the Buffalo. University of Alberta Press, Edmonton. pp. 139-165.

    The saga of the North American bison (Bison bison) is chronicled as one of the most tragic abuses of wildlife on this continent. The bison is the largest terrestrial mammal in North America, and in prehistoric and early historic times it was the dominant herbivore on the grasslands of the central plains. It played an important role in grassland boreal ecosystems and was a principal resource for the indigenous human population inhabiting the interior plains region of the continent. At the close of the nineteenth century, following the onset of European settlement, the bison was nearly driven to extinction. The plains subspecies (B. b. bison Linnaeus) was effectively extirpated in Canada by 1885 and only a few hundred wood bison (B. b. athabascae Rhoads) remained in northern areas between Lake Athabasca and Great Slave Lake. The chronology of depletion was similar for the two subspecies. In this century, the plains bison has been saved from extinction and presently numbers over 100,000 individuals, largely on commercial ranches. The wood bison has achieved more modest abundance, and further recovery of this subspecies is clearly at a crossroads. This article deals with the history of the wood bison, tracing it through three distinct periods, the historic period, the early conservation period, and the recovery period. Major limiting factors to further recovery are identified and discussed.

  16. Guilbride, P.D.L., D.H.L. Rollinson, E.G. McAnulty, J.G. Alley & E.A. Wells. 1963. Tuberculosis in the free-living African cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer). J. Comp. Path. 73: 337-348.

    The following article describes the results of an investigation into the cause of morbidity and mortality of African buffaloes (Syncerus caffer caffer Sparrman) living free in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda. Eight cases of tuberculosis are described among thirteen free-living African buffalo shot in a game park in Uganda. The distribution and character of the lesions are described, and the differences between them and those found in the domestic bovine are discussed. This appears to be the first record of tuberculosis in the free- living African (Cape) buffalo, Syncerus caffer caffer Sparrman. A summary of the other pathogens found at necropsy is given.

  17. Hadwen, S. 1942. Tuberculosis in the buffalo. J.A.V.M.A. 192: 19-22.

    An outbreak of tuberculosis occurred in a large herd of buffaloes confined in the National Buffalo Park at Wainwright, Alberta. Between (inclusive) 1923 and 1939, 12,005 bison were killed. Of these, 6,450 had tuberculous lesions. There were also a total of 1,678 elk, moose and deer killed during 1939 and 1940, 81 of which had tuberculous lesions. Elk had significantly more lesions than the other two species.

  18. Novakowski, N.S. 1958. Report on the testing, tagging, and slaughter of bison in Wood Buffalo National Park, Oct.- Nov. 1958. Mss. Rpt. C.W.S.C. 764. 18 pp. Report Library of Canada Wildlife Service, Department of Fisheries and the Environment, Ottawa.

    The testing, tagging and slaughter of bison in Wood Buffalo Park was carried out in October and November, 1958, at the Sweetgrass abattoir and corral site. The program this year consisted of testing the animals for tuberculosis reaction by injection, testing of blood samples of live animals for brucellosis by the rapid agglutination test, facilities for which were set up in the abattoir, tagging all animals thus tested and finally slaughtered all reactors of either or both diseases. This program was carried out as planned with the exception of the taking of some animals by open-field shooting to complete the meat requirements. The results of the work done is presented using data taken by the Health of Animals representative, Dr. F.G. Gallivan and by the writer. A complete physiological examination was done on slaughtered animals and is reported.

  19. Reynolds, H.W. & C.C. Gates. 1991. Managing wood bison: A once endangered species. In: L.A. Renecker & R.J.Hudson (eds.). Wildlife Production: Conservation and Substainable Development. A.F.E.S. misc. pub. 91-6. University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska. pp. 363-371.

    A cooperative interagency program was established in western Canada in 1975 to recover wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) in areas of historic range. Wood bison were classified as endangered in 1979 and were downlisted to threatened in 1988. A recovery plan is being drafted to ensure the survival of wood bison as a wild subspecies. Four wild herds with at least 200 animals in each is the minimum requirement. Currently, there are more than 2,900 wood bison with about 75% of the total population located in the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary (MBS). Bovine diseases present in the wild bison in and around Wood Buffalo National Park pose a threat to wood bison recovery and to the MBS herd. Fifty percent of the historic range is unavailable for recovery because of diseased bison. With disease elimination, the scope for recovery in a large portion of the historic range would be significantly increased. In 1990, the Northern Diseased Bison Enviromental Assessment Panel recommended eradication of diseased bison and herd replacement. The introduction of plains bison into the core range of the wood bison in the 1920's nearly caused extinction of the wood bison. Today, western Canadian provinces and territories lack consistency in wildlife policies regarding transfers and establishment of ranched and/or free-roaming bison of either subspecies within the historic range of the other. Conservationists cannot rely on the agricultural industry to ensure recovery and preservation of the genetic integrity of wood bison in the long term. Additional herds of wood bison are required to secure survival of the subspecies and to insure full recovery within its historic range. For a successful recovery program, protection of the MBS wood bison resource from disease and genetic contamination and establishment of additional herds of healthy wood bison in healthy habitats are required management actions.

  20. Rhyan, J.C., D.A. Saari, E.S. Williams, M.W. Miller, A.J. Davis & A.J. Wilson. 1992. Gross and microscopic lesions of naturally occurring tuberculosis in a captive herd of wapiti (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) in Colorado. J. Vet. Diagn. Invest. 4: 428-433.

    A Mycobacterium bovis-infected herd of captive wapiti (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) in Colorado was depopulated after lesions of bovine tuberculosis were confirmed in 8 of 10 tuberculin skin test reactors. Of the 43 animals > 1 year of age, 26 had gross lesions suggestive of tuberculosis, 24 had microscopic lesions of tuberculosis, and 23 had acid-fast bacilli associated with the lesions. Lungs and retropharyngeal lymph nodes were the most frequently affected sites. Most lesions grossly and microscopically resembled tuberculosis in cattle; however, some lesions resembled abscesses or ovine caseous lymphadenitis lesions. Special stains and immunohistochemical techniques labeled few to numerous mycobacteria associated with the lesions.

  21. Stumpff, C.D. 1982. Epidemiological study of an outbreak of bovine TB in confined elk herds. Proc. Ann. Mtg. U.S.A.H.A. 86: 524-527.

    This report describes the case history of an outbreak of tuberculosis in elk originating from a herd in South Dakota. Important conclusions from the study of this outbreak are: (1) exotic animal populations may be important reservoirs of tuberculosis, (2) in many instances, State and Federal regulations are inadequate or nonexistent to properly handle outbreaks in exotic animal populations, (3) this incident re-emphasizes the need for adequate safeguards in handling tuberculosis infected animals, and (4) more needs to be known regarding diagnosis of tuberculosis in exotic animals.

  22. Stumpff, C.D., M.A. Essey, D.H. Person & D. Thorpe. 1985. Epidemiologic study of M. Bovis in American bison. Proc. Ann. Mtg. U.S.A.H.A. 89: 564-570.

    This report discusses a major outbreak of tuberculosis in two bison herds in South Dakota in 1984. The outbreak has its origins from an infected elk herd in the same state. The epidemiology of infection of the bison herds and all affected livestock populations is detailed. The management of this outbreak indicates: (1) little is known regarding the extent of tuberculosis in bison, (2) new testing procedures need to be developed and the pathogenesis of tuberculosis in bison need to be understood better, (3) increasing exotic animal herds may be important reservoirs of infection and may have a bearing on eradication efforts, and (4) this is the first outbreak of tuberculosis in bison in the U.S. since 1954.

  23. Telfer, E.S. & G.W. Scotter. 1975. Potential for game ranching in boreal aspen forests of western Canada. J. Range Manage. 28: 172-180.

    Portions of western Canada, which include the boreal mixedwood, aspen parklands, lower foothills, and the monatane forest regions, contain large expanses of aspen. These regions are favorable for consideration as game ranching areas because of a shallow snow cover, productive soils, variety of vegetative types, and a variety of native wild ungulates, including bison (Bison bison), moose (Alces alces), elk (Cervus canadensis), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), and white-tailed deer (O. virginianus). Those parameters discussed, which are relevant to game ranching, include range carrying capacity, sex ratio, management during winter, scale of operation, interspecific competition, and behavioral intolerance, disease and parasites, harvesting, and multiple use management.

  24. Tessaro, S.V. 1986. The existing and potential importance of brucellosis and tuberculosis in Canadian wildlife: A review. Can. Vet. J. 27: 119- 124.

    As the campaign to eradicate bovine brucellosis (Brucella abortus) and tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis) in Canadian livestock nears completion, the importance of extraneous sources of these diseases increases. This review summarizes the literature on brucellosis and tuberculosis in Canadian wildlife species to determine existing and potential hosts. Canadian caribou (Rangifer tarandus) are reservoirs of Brucella suis biotype 4 which is pathogenic in caribou, humans and muskoxen but reportedly nonpathogenic in livestock. Bison (Bison bison) and elk (Cervus canadensis) are significant reservoirs of B. abortus and M. bovis. The bison in and around Wood Buffalo National Park have both diseases and are the only wildlife reservoir in Canada. Free-ranging elk are important reservoirs of brucellosis in Wyoming, and captive elk initiated the recent outbreak of bovine tuberculosis in 20 American states which has also involved bison and cattle herds. If bison and elk ranching continues to develop in Canada, the industry will have to be monitored to prevent the introduction and spread of infectious diseases like brucellosis and tuberculosis. This requires the evaluation and/or development of effective diagnostic methods for use in these animals.

  25. Tessaro, S.V. 1989. Review of the diseases, parasites and miscellaneous pathological conditions of North American bison. Can. Vet. J. 30: 416-422.

    The involvement of veterinarians in the health management of North American bison will continue to increase, particularly in regard to the development of the bison ranching industry. More intensive management of bison will lead to greater recognition of diseases, and will raise concerns about the transmission of diseases between bison and other livestock species. This review of the infectious and noninfectious diseases of free-ranging and captive bison populations indicates that bison are susceptible to a wide range of indigenous and foreign diseases that occur in cattle and other livestock species. Most of the available information is based on necropsy results or serological surveys, and there is much less information on clinical, diagnostic and preventive medicine, or on the evaluation of conventional diagnostic tests, therapeutic regimens, or vaccines in bison.

  26. Tessaro, S.V., L.B. Forbes & C. Turcotte. 1990. A survey of brucellosis and tuberculosis in bison in and around Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada. Can. Vet. J. 31: 174-180.

    Examinations of complete or partial remains of 72 bison found dead in and around Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada, revealed evidence of brucellosis in 18 (25%) and tuberculosis in 15 (21%), with a combined prevalence of 42%. Urease-positive and urease- negative strains of Brucella abortus biovar 1, and strains of biovar 2, were isolated from tissues of bison, including synovium and exudate from severe arthritic lesions. Mycobacterium bovis was isolated from a range of granulomatous lesions that were similar to those reported in tuberculous cattle. Diseased bison had a broad geographical distribution, and were found outside the park on at least three natural corridors. The diseases have a deleterious effect on this population of bison, and pose a health risk to other bison herds, livestock, and native hunters in the region.

  27. Tessaro, S.V., C.C. Gates & L.B. Forbes. 1993. The brucellosis and tuberculosis status of wood bison in the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary, Northwest Territories, Canada. Can. J. Vet. Res. 57: 231-235.

    Postmortem examinations were done on 51 wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) killed as part of a multidisciplinary research project in the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary, Northwest Territories, Canada, between 1986 and 1988. There was no gross, histological or bacteriological evidence of brucellosis or tuberculosis in these bison. Traumatic lesions were seen in one calf that had been attacked by wolves and a second calf that had been gored. Antibody titers to Brucella abortus were not found in sera from these 51 animals or an additional 112 wood bison that were chemically-immobilized or killed in the Sanctuary between 1986 and 1990. The combined prevalence of the diseases in the population could not have exceeded 5.95% for the necropsy survey to have missed finding at least one infected animal, and the prevalence of brucellosis in the population would have had to be less than 1.95% for the broader serological survey to have failed to find at least one reactor animal on the battery of tests. These results, and the cumulative epidemiological information on brucellosis and tuberculosis in bison, indicate that bovine brucellosis and tuberculosis are not enzootic in the wood bison population in and around the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary, and suggest that the population is free of these diseases. However, this expanding population is at risk of contracting both diseases from the infected population in and around nearby Wood Buffalo National Park.

  28. Thoen, C.O., W.D. Richards & J.L. Jarnagin. 1977. Mycobacteria isolated from exotic animals. J.A.V.M.A. 170: 987-990.

    Mycobacteria were isolated from 263 of 474 specimens submitted from captive exotic (nondomesticated) animals over a 5-year period. Mycobacterium avium was isolated from 128 animals originating in 13 states and the District of Columbia; serotype 1 accounted for 65 of the isolations. Mycobacterium bovis was isolated from 74 animals in 7 zoos, 7 game parks, and 4 primate colonies in 18 states; Mycobacterium tuberculosis was isolated from 29 animals originating in 9 states; and Mycobacterium paratuberculosis was isolated from 22 specimens from 3 states. Other isolations included Mycobacterium fortuitum, Mycobacterium chelonei, Mycobacterium scrofulaceum, and Mycobacterium spp. The widespread occurrence of tuberculosis in exotic animals maintained in captivity emphasizes the public health importance of these infections.

  29. Thoen, C.O. & E.M. Himes. 1981. Tuberculosis. In: J.W. Davis, L.H. Karstad & D.O. Trainer (eds.), Infectious Diseases of Wild Mammals. 2nd ed. Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa. pp. 263-274.

    This chapter from the book specifically covers tuberculosis in wild animals. History, distribution, etiology, transmission, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, treatment and control are subheadings in this chapter. The topics cover all affected animals including primates, rodents, ruminants and other mammals.

  30. Thoen, C.O., K.J. Throlson, L.D. Miller, E.M. Himes & R.L. Morgan. 1988. Pathogenesis of Mycobacterium bovis infection in American bison. Am. J. Vet. Res. 49: 1861-1865.

    Eighteen 12-month old bison were randomly placed in each of 3 groups (6 animals/group): group-1 bison were exposed to live Mycobacterium bovis, group-2 bison were inoculated with killed M. bovis in oil, and group-3 bison were noninfected controls. Six, 6- month-old, tuberculin test-negative calves were placed (pen contact) with group-1 bison 30 days after exposure to M. bovis. Tuberculin skin test responses (caudal fold and/or comparative cervical) were detected in all bison in groups 1 and 2 at 2, 4, 6, 10, and 12 months. Tuberculin skin test responses were observed in 2 of 6 calves at 9 and 11 months after pen contact with M. bovis-exposed bison (group 1). Statistically significant lymphocyte blastogenic responses to M. bovis purified protein derivative were detected in group-1 bison exposed to live M. bovis at 2 months after exposure (P < 0.025). Significant ELISA reactions were detected in sera of bison at 2 months after exposure to killed M. bovis in oil (P < 0.005) and in bison 2 months after exposure to live M. bovis (P < 0.01). Significant tuberculin skin responses, ELISA reactions, or lymphocyte blastogenic responses to M. bovis purified protein derivative were not observed in the 6 control bison. Grossly visible tuberculous lesions were observed in lymph nodes and/or lung collected at necropsy in 4 of 6 bison at 12 months after exposure to live M. bovis. Microscopic granulomas compatible with tuberculosis were detected in 5 of 6 bison; M. bovis was isolated from tissues of each of the 6 bison. Grossly visible lesions were not detected in pen-contact calves at necropsy; M. bovis was not isolated.

  31. Thoen, C.O., W.J. Quinn, L.D. Miller, L.L. Stackhouse, B.F. Newcomb & J.M. Ferrell. 1992. Mycobacterium bovis infection in North American elk (Cervus elaphus). J. Vet. Diagn. Invest. 4: 423-427.

    A naturally occurring outbreak of Mycobacterium bovis infection in captive wild elk (wapiti) in Montana was confirmed by mycobacteriologic examination. Twenty-eight of 143 elk responded to M. bovis purified protein derivative (PPD) tuberculin injected intradermally in the cervical region (SCT). The results of comparative cervical tuberculin skin tests conducted within 9 days of SCT revealed greater responses to M. bovis PPD tuberculin than to M. avium PPD tuberculin in 23 of 28 elk responding. At necropsy, several grossly visible tuberculous lesions were observed in the parenchyma of the lung, thoracic lymph nodes, and submandibular lymph nodes. Microscopic examination of appropriately stained tissue sections revealed the presence of granulomatous lesions containing acid-fast bacilli. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed using sarkosyl extract of M. bovis (antigen) and peroxidase-labeled protein G (conjugate); reactions were detected in the sera of 8 of 9 elk responding to M. bovis PPD tuberculin. Lymphocyte blastogenic assay responses were detected using M. bovis antigens in 7 of 9 elk positive on skin tests using M. bovis PPD.

  32. Tuckerman, E.D. 1955. Report of bovine tuberculosis infection in the buffalo herd of the Lehigh County Game Preserve. Vet. Ext. Quart. Univ. Pa. No. 130. pp. 108-110.

    This case report discusses an outbreak of bovine tuberculosis in buffalo in a Pennsylvania herd. After diagnosis in a dead buffalo, 22% of the herd were confirmed as reacting to testing. Management of the outbreak, which required slaughter of reactors, is discussed in detail.

  33. USDA. 1992. Bovine tuberculosis eradication: Uniform methods and rules effective February 3, 1989. Anim. Plant Health Inspect. Ser., No. 91- 45-001. 14 pp.

    These Uniform Methods and Rules (UMR) are the minimum standards adopted by the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) in October 1988, and approved by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services (VS), on February 3, 1989. They were adopted for the establishment and maintenance of tuberculosis-free accredited herds of cattle, bison, and dairy goats, Modified Accredited States, and States Accredited Free of bovine tuberculosis in the domestic bovine and in bison raised under agricultural conditions. Specifically discussed in this document are: definitions of important terms, recommended procedures for testing, identification and management of diseased bison and cattle, and herd and state status plans.


    Thanks are given to Dr. C. Cormack Gates, Wildlife Management Division, Government of the Northwest Territories, Canada, Dr. Charles C. Thoen, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State, University, Ames, Iowa and Dr. Stacy V. Tessaro, Agriculture Canada, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.


    Stuart E. Knapp, Ph.D and Professor of Parasitology, Veterinary Molecular Biology, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717

    Sara E. Marley, Ph.D of Parasitology and Entomology, NIH Post- doctoral Research Fellow, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30341

    Shawna M. Button, Student Research Assistant, Veterinary Molecular Biology, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717

    Matthew C. Rognlie, M.S. of Biochemistry, Research Specialist, Veterinary Molecular Biology, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717

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