Neospora abortions in dairy cattle: Diagnosis, mode of transmission and control

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Veterinary Parasitology, 2005, 128 (3-4), pp. 231 - 241
Issue Date:
2005-03-31
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Aim: To determine the contribution of Neospora caninum to abortions on a dairy farm in NSW (Australia), determine the mode of transmission and develop and trial a control option for infection. Methods: Two whole herd bleeds were conducted 12 months apart and the association between serological status and abortion events were calculated for a number of bovine abortifacients. Family trees were constructed for N. caninum seropositive cattle in the herd. Some N. caninum seropositive cows were culled from the herd and no female offspring was retained from seropositive cows. Results: At the first whole-herd bleed in December 2002 a seroprevalence of 10.2% for N. caninum infection was detected. Cows with N. caninum infection were 13 times more likely to abort than uninfected ones. Seventy-five percent of seropositive animals in the herd were related, suggesting a high degree of congenital infection/transmission. Only 15% of infections were likely to be postnatally acquired. Selective culling of seropositive cows and not breeding from them reduced the number of seropositive animals. Only one newly sero-converted cow was detected at the second whole-herd bleed 12 months later. Conclusions: Seroepidemiological approaches were able to establish a high degree of association between N. caninum infection and low-level abortion in the dairy herd. Vertical transmission of infection was the predominant mode of infection and hence control efforts aimed at selectively culling seropositive animals from the herd were highly successful in reducing the level of infection. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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