NADIS

Welcome to NADIS. Are you a...

Vet SQP Farmer/Animal Keeper Industry Professional Researcher Not In Animal Health Industry

You will only be asked this once.

Download this page as a PDF

Download Now

33
Editorial Information

Richard Laven PhD BVetMed MRCVS

Neosporosis


This bulletin was written between 2000-2006 and is currently being updated, you should be aware that some of the details may have changed since publishing

The NADIS data show that the number of cases of abortion so far this year has been higher than average. One of the most recently identified causes of abortion is neosporosis, however recent studies suggest that neosporosis causes over 10% of all abortions in UK cattle

What is Neosporosis?

Neosporosis is caused by infection with the protozoa Neospora caninumNeosporahas been found world-wide and in many species other than cattle. Currently abortion due to Neospora has been shown in cattle, sheep and horses. The dog and othercanids (such as foxes) are the definitive host. That is they are the animals in which the parasite becomes sexually mature and reproduces.

Neopspora is an increasingly common protozoal cause of abortion in cattle

Clinical Signs

Abortion, between 3 and 9 months of pregnancy (particularly 5 to 7 months)

Still birth or premature calf

Occasionally, calves will have brain disease at birth

No other signs seen in the mother

Repeat abortions possible in the same cow.

 

Diagnosis

  • Clinical signs of little help
  • Characteristic heart and brain damage in aborted calf
  • Identification of parasite in the calf tissue
  • Antibodies in the mother's blood

However, as a large number of healthy calves can be infected with Neospora it is important to eliminate other causes of abortion, particularly BVD or leptospirosis before a diagnosis of neosporosis is made

 

Treatment

  • No treatment of any proven benefit

 

Prevention

Dogs are potentially a source of disease. So prevention must include:

a) Keeping cattle food and water away from dogs and   foxes

b)  High hygiene standards at calving. Dispose of placental membranes and aborted or dead calves before dogs can get them

However, transmission from mother to calf (known as vertical transmission) is far more important. Over 90% of calves born to mothers with antibodies to Neospora will have been infected in the womb. The importance of transmission between cattle is less clear. Nevertheless, vertical transmission alone can maintain infection in a herd. To eliminate Neospora you need to:

1) Identify infected cattle and cull them: All cattle with antibodies to Neosporaare sources of infection to their calves. Additionally cattle with antibodies are 20 times more likely to abort between 90 and 270 days of pregnancy than cattle without antibodies. Finally, on average, infected cows produce less milk than antibody negative cows.

2) Select only seronegative cattle for breeding. Heifers with antibodies should be sold for meat not bred.

These strategies look expensive to achieve, however the cost of neosporosis far outweighs the cost of eliminating it from the herd

Disease Alert Subscription

If you would like to be notified of disease alerts please fill in your e-mail address and/or your mobile number below:

Please indicate which species are of interest:


Name:
Email:  
Mobile: