VETERINARSKI ARHIV 68 (5), 177-181, 1998

ISSN 0372-5480
Printed in Croatia

Reproductive failures in does and ewes due to salmonellosis in Himachal Pradesh, India

Subhash Verma1, Ramesh C. Katoch1, Jagidish C. Verma2, Parag Nigam3 and Munish K. Batta1

1Department of Veterinary Microbiology & Immunology, College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya, Palampur, India

2Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, Dist. Bareilly (U.P.), India

3Mobile Field Veterinary Hospital, Reckong Peo, Kinnaur (H.P.), India

* Contact address:
Prof. Ramesh Chand Katoch,
Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya, Palampur-176 062 (H.P.), India,
Phone: 91 189 430 304, Fax: 91 189 430 511

VERMA, S., R. C. KATOCH, J. C. VERMA, P. NIGAM, M. K. BATTA: Reproductive failures in does and ewes due to salmonellosis in Himachal Pradesh, India. Vet. arhiv 68, 177-181, 1998.


The aetiologic role of salmonellae leading to reproductive disorders was investigated in 115 does and 163 ewes. The reproductive disorders comprised abortions (15 does and 28 ewes), endometritis (93 does and 133 ewes) and cervicitis and/or vaginitis (7 does and 2 ewes). In all, six isolations of salmonellae were made. The abortions in does yielded two isolates of S. dublin, whereas one isolate of S. typhimurium was identified from an abortion in a ewe. Three isolates of S. rostock were recorded from endometritis, i.e., two isolates from does and one from a ewe. The drug susceptibility pattern of salmonellae was also tested against 16 chemotherapeutics.

Key words: reproductive disorders, does, ewes, Salmonella, India


Only scant information is available in the literature concerning the impact of salmonellosis among does and ewes on infertility and abortions. The importance of Salmonella organisms as potential pathogens of man, domestic animals and poultry needs no elaboration. Few Salmonella serovars cause infections exclusively in certain species of animals. Most of the unadapted salmonellae in humans have also been identified from various species of farm animals and other free-living creatures. Of late, we have witnessed a global-wide prevalence of salmonellosis in animals, due mainly to intensive husbandry practices. Although salmonellae abortions are generally low and sporadic, nevertheless they are recognised as ranking highly among persisting problems. The route of infection is oro-fecal, but ultimately the organism reaches the uterus and localises in the placentomes, leading to necrosis. Perhaps its localisation in the placentomes causes alternations in the hormonal status of the affected animals, thereby leading to abortion, soon after which they are excreted in faeces, milk and uterine discharges.

There are over 2324 Salmonella serovars around the world, and in India 205 serovars have been identified (HARBOLA, 1997). The present study was designed to discover the role of Salmonella serovars in reproductive disorders in does and ewes.

Materials and methods

In the present investigation the sample materials, i.e., vaginal swabs/endometrial discharges and materials from aborted foetus from cases of abortion, endometritis, cervicitis and/or vaginitis, were microbiologically processed to assess the true involvement of salmonellae. In all, 278 samples were collected from migratory flocks of sheep and goats at different locations in Himashal Pradesh, India. The samples comprised cases of abortion (15 does and 28 ewes), endometritis (93 does and 133 ewes) and cervicitis and/or vaginitis (7 does and 2 ewes). The samples were inoculated according to EDWARDS and EWING (1972) directly, as well as after enrichment, and incubated at 37 C. The isolates were identified on the basis of growth, morphological, physiological and serological characteristics. The Salmonella isolates were also tested for their chemotherapeutic susceptibility pattern against 16 chemotherapeutics by disc diffusion method on Mueller's Hinton and brain heart infusion agar.


A total of six Salmonella isolates were cultured from 278 samples (2.1%) emanating from different reproductive disorders (Table 1). Among does, presence of S. dublin was recorded to the extent of 1.3% in abortions, while 2.2% S. rostock was encountered in endometritis. In ewes, S. typhimurium accounted for 3.6% in the aetiology of abortion, whilst S. rostock contributed 0.8% in causation of endometritis. However, of nine samples of cervicitis and/or vaginitis, seven does and two ewes were bereft of Salmonella.

Table 1. Number of samples processed and Salmonella isolates recovered in Himachal Pradesh, India

Sr. No.



No. of samples

Salmonella isolated





S. dublin (2)



S. rostock (2)

Cervicitis / Vaginitis







S. typhimurium (1)



S. rostock (1)

Cervicitis / Vaginitis



The S. typhimurium isolate was resistant to polymixin B, cloxacillin and cotrimazine, and sensitive to ciprofloxacin, kanamycin, gentamicin, amikacin, nitrofurantoin, chloramphenicol, chlortetracycline, ampicillin, nalidixic acid, tetracycline and amoxycilin.

Two isolates of S. dublin were sensitive to ciprofloxacin, kanamycin and gentamicin, and resistant to polymixin B, colxacillin, furazolidone and co-trimazine. One isolate of Salmonella each was inhibited by chlortetracycline, nalidixic acid, tetracycline and streptomycin.

The three isolates of S. rostock manifested inhibition against chloramphenicol, ampicillin, nitrofurantoin, amikacin, amoxycillin, ciprofloxacin, kanamycin and gentamicin. Only two isolates each were sensitive to streptomycin, nalidixic acid, tetracycline and co-trimazine. All the three isolates were resistant to cloxacillin and furazolidone and, surprisingly, one isolate was inhibited by polymixin B.


The livestock population of Himachal Pradesh exceeds the human population with a density of 89 animals per square kilometre, as against 77 human beings. In certain areas, especially high hills temperate wet, and high hills temperate dry, the migratory animal husbandry system has been very common since time immemorial. The migratory flocks of Gaddi sheep and goats and herds of buffaloes move from the high hills to sub-mountainous regions. Thereafter, to low hill subtropical areas of the state and in the adjoining areas of Punjab during winter, returning to the natural grasslands and pastures of high dry hills in summer. It is interesting to observe that nearly twice as much of the geographical area of Himachal Pradesh is under low quality and pasture land as is under crop production, including horticulture.

The findings of the present investigations almost corroborate the findings of KENAR et al. (1990). Those authors also microbiologically processed samples from 303 aborted foetuses of ewes and could isolate Salmonella spp. from 11 foetuses (3.6%). KUMAR et al. (1973) reported that in India, 3.1% of 812 sheep and 3.8% of 683 goats examined were salmonellae carriers. The overall prevalence of salmonellae is nearly in concurrence with the above researchers as far as does are concerned, but do not correlate with respect to ewes.

In developing countries salmonellosis is currently an important zoonotic problem. The occurrence of S. dublin is noteworthy as this organism is host adapted to cattle. However, it may lead to abortions in ewes (RADOSTITS et al., 1995). Earlier, S. dublin was also reported as an abortifacient in migratory flocks of ewes by SHARMA et al. (1997). This study encountered S. dublin among Gaddi goats in Himachal Pradesh from migratory flocks where customarily the ewes and does move together. Hence, the abortions in does due to S. dublin could have been resulted from cross-inter-species transmission from ewes. VANDEGRAAFF and MALMO (1977) reported isolation of S. dublin alone from 66 cattle farms where 12 abortions were associated with S. dublin.

This study also records the rare isolation of two strains of S. rostock from endometritis in does and from ewes. The endometritis was traced to abortions about one month ago in does and an endometric ewe that yielded S. rostock. A scanning of literature reveals association of S. rostock for the first time in India. The presence of S. rostock in endometritis in does and ewes warrants serious attention. In India, only a few reports of its isolation are available; this includes a report on goats by NATH et al. (1966), and from camels by MALLIK et al. (1967). Nevertheless, its isolation from an aborted mare in India (VERMA and GUPTA, 1995) and the present study also finds support in the association of S. rostock from the above researchers. Its role has also been documented as being of public health importance by KUMAR et al. (1973). Previously, the presence of S. rostock as a potential zoonotic agent, as well as its role in animal infections, has been reported by BUXTON (1957). Therefore, the organism could be thought of as an abortifacient among does and ewes. These findings need further substantiation through elaborate studies.

All the isolates of S. dublin (2), S. typhimurium (1) and S. rostock (3) revealed physiological behaviour and a carbohydrate metabolism characteristic similar to genus Salmonella, except for one isolate of S. rostock that was, however, negative for H2S production.

A unique contribution to chemotherapeutics in the twentieth century is the advent of antibiotics. It is incontestable that antibiotics have merits, although their prolonged and indiscriminate use is not without risk. The continuous introduction of new antibiotics and their widespread - as well as indiscriminate - use, together with ever-changing patterns of drug resistance, emphasises the importance of in vitro testing for antimicrobial susceptibility profiles. The resistance of salmonellae to chemotherapeutics is the main hindrance, which results in elimination of sensitive strains from native flora and the dissemination of resistant ones, thereby accentuating the phenomenon of transfer of drug resistant factors. In general, the observations of this study lead to the conclusion that the isolates from reproductive disorders were comparatively resistant to different chemotherapeutic agents. This is because microbial flora of the female genital tract is comparatively stable, defying all forms of chemotherapy and often being a permanent contributory factor to infertility. Any indiscriminate use of chemotherapeutic agents might create more serious drug-resistant forms.

Thanks are due to the Dean, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, HPKV, for providing necessary facilities at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi.


BUXTON, A. (1957): Salmonnellosis in animals. Review series No. 5 Commonwealth Agriculture Bureau, Farnham Bucks.

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HARBOLA, P. C. (1997): An overview of salmonellosis in animals and poultry in India. XV International Symposium on Salmonellosis and Brucellosis. Nicosia. Cyprus.

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Received: 16 February 1998
Accepted: 2 July 1998

VERMA, S., R. C. KATOCH, J. C. VERMA, P. NIGAM, M. K. BATTA: Poremecaji razmnozavanja u koza i ovaca uzrokovani salmonelozom u Himachal Pradeshu, Indija. Vet. arhiv 68, 177-181, 1998.


U 115 koza i 163 ovce istrazivana je etioloska uloga salmoneloze u nastanku poremecaja razmnozavanja. Poremetnje su se ocitovale pobacajem (15 koza i 28 ovaca), endometritisom (93 koze i 113 ovaca), te cervicitisom i/ili vaginitisom (7 koza i 2 ovce). Ukupno je izdvojeno 6 izolata Salmonella. Pri pobacaju koza izdvojena su dva izolata S. dublin, a iz jednog pobacaja u ovce izdvojena je S. typhimurium. Pri pojavi endometritisa izdvojena su tri izolata S. rostock, dva iz koza i jedan iz ovce. Takoder je istrazena osjetljivost izdvojenih salmonela prema 16 kemoterapeutika.

Kljucne rijeci: poremecaji razmnozavanja, koze, ovce, Salmonella, Indija