Disease Management Venture (DMV)

Adaptive West Wide Wild Sheep
Disease Management Venture (DMV)

Wild Sheep Working Group January 2017
Strategy, Mission, and Objectives


Respiratory disease remains the biggest impediment to restoring and sustaining bighorn sheep populations.  Based on a west-wide survey of all wildlife agencies, over 175 disease events were documented since the 1970s in 17 of the 20 jurisdictions with losses of over 14,000 adult bighorn.  Over 75 herds experienced 3 or more years of poor lamb recruitment post disease event and 20 herds having 10 or more years of high lamb mortality.  In 2015, the Wild Sheep Disease Management Venture (DMV) was established by the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) Wild Sheep Working Group (WSWG) to identify management challenges associated with these respiratory disease events and collaboratively develop solutions to these challenges.

The DMV acknowledges that the respiratory disease is polymicrobial involving Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae, Pasteurellaceae spp., viruses, and other emerging factors (e.g., paranasal sinus tumors).  Initial spillover of the primary pathogen agent occurs via contact with domestic sheep or goats and can subsequently be circulated by wild sheep or mountain goats.  Following spillover into a bighorn herd several different outcomes have been documented, ranging from little to no impact on health and recruitment to epizootic pneumonia, followed by years of lamb deaths caused by pneumonia.  This variable pattern has defined the key question for the DMV:  What contributes to this variation in herd response to respiratory disease and how can management actions improve herd performance?

Mission and Objectives

To aid jurisdictions in addressing this key question the mission of the DMV is to work collaboratively to:

  • Improve and speed collective learning on respiratory disease and herd response
  • Be a source of guidance and expertise
  • Be a clearinghouse for information sharing among jurisdictions and researchers
  • Facilitate the evaluation of adaptive management actions
  • Encourage jurisdictions to explore new management actions
  • Seek funding to support enhanced monitoring and adaptive management trials
  • Summarize outcomes of management actions and identify those that have the most promise of improving herd performance

DMV Strategy and Appendices

Wild Sheep DMV Strategy Jan 2017 version


Flowcharts of Herd Response and Pathogen Variables

To help evaluate and visualize the relationship of herd history, performance, disease risk, and pathogens to sample, several flowcharts exist to help wild sheep managers and veterinarians appreciate and categorize wild sheep herds for surveillance and adaptive management actions.


Flowcart Concepts - Parameters & Response Values

Herd Categrory Part 1 

Herd Category Score Part 2 

Herd Categories - Exposure to Mycoplasma 

Herd Categories -  Exposure to Movi -  Explination


Candidate Herds

Wild Sheep DMV Candidate Herd Information by Jurisdiction

Graphs of Candidate Herd Information

Test and Cull Experiments

DMV Steering Committee

Emerging Diseases

Media and Educational Material

Recent Disease Research and Monitoring