Sheep pox disease outbreaks were recorded among Madras Red (n = 145) and Mechery (n = 80) breeds of indigenous sheep on three farms in Tamilnadu. Over both breeds, adult mortality rate ranged from 2.66% to 37.5% and lamb mortality ranged from 10% to 17.33%. However, mortality was more in Mechery sheep (50% overall; 37.5% adults, 12.5% lambs) than in Madras Red sheep (24.28% overall; 10.34% adults, 13.79% lambs). The clinical signs observed were high fever, anorexia, respiratory distress, mucopurulent nasal discharge and in a few cases diarrhoea. Cutaneous lesions were mainly observed around nostrils, eyes, lips, ears and in the abdomen. Most of the lesions were covered with purulent materials and on cleaning with sterile swabs, fresh wounds were observed. Dry scabs were also observed over the oral commissure and maxillary areas, which on removal exposed fresh wounds. Important observations on necropsy were severe nodular lesions in the lungs and intestine. The disease was diagnosed as sheep pox by agar gel immunodiffusion test, isolation of virus and its neutralization in BHK21 cells by specific antiserum and by electron microscopy.
The exact history of the Dorset sheep is found wanting for some positive record of origin. History does tell us that centuries ago, Spain wished to conquer England, and possibly during this time, the Merino sheep were brought into Southwest England and were crossed with the Horned Sheep of Wales, which produced a desirable all-purpose sheep which met the needs of that time. Thus began a breed of sheep which spread over Dorset, Somerset, Devon, and most of Wales and were called Horned Dorsets. In the USA they are called Dorset.
Dorsets in America, in a publication called Sheep Industry in the United States, written by Ezra Carmen, H, A. Heath, and John Minton, all of whom were Oregon pioneers living in the Salem, OR area, we learn of Dorsets being in Oregon in 1860. These shipments were brought to the West Coast from England by the Hudson Bay Shipping Company and the first Dorsets were brought over for Mr. Richard Scott of Milwaukee, OR, in 1860. The first Dorsets on the East Coast were brought from England in 1885 and exhibited at the American Fat Stock Show in Chicago. Other early importers between 1887 and 1891 were: William Daley, Lockport, NY; E. F. Bowditch, Framingham, MA; T. S. Cooper, Coopersburg, PA; J, L. Henderson & Son, Washington, PA, and Tranquility Farms, Allamuchy, NJ.