Neosporosis is a disease caused by the protozoa Neospora Caninum. Abortion is the most common clinical sign of the disease however, occasionally, it can cause neurological disease in calves. Cattle are the intermediate host with dogs and foxes being the definitive hosts and therefore important in the biosecurity implications.
The Effect in Your Herd
Neospora is the most frequently diagnosed cause of abortion in cattle in the UK. This has high economic impact with loss of the calf, less milk produced and higher reproductive costs.
The Route of Infection
Neospora is transmitted in 2 ways
1. 'Vertical Infection' (endogenous transmission) - this is a direct transfer of infection from dam to calf across the placenta and is the most common form of transmission.
2. 'Horizontal Infection' (exogenous infection) - the cow ingests oocysts from pasture or feed contaminated with dog/fox faeces.
Biosecurity Specifically Targeted to Neospora
Dogs should not have access to carcases or afterbirth which should be removed as soon as possible, this helps prevent dogs becoming infected. Dogs should not have access to pasture for grazing and forage nor have access to areas of feed storage. Feed needs to be stored in vermin proof containers.
|Disease and status||Animals to be Tested||Action Required|
|1. First Herd Test||All Breeding Females 12-4 weeks pre calving||
If all negative, this is the herd's 1st qualifying test towards Neospora Accreditation.
If low numbers are positive- go to '3'
If large numbers are positive - go to '4'
|2. Second Herd Test||All breeding females 12 -4 weeks pre calving at subsequent pregnancy||
If all negative the herd is Accredited free of Neospora.
If positives are present in the herd go to '3'
|3. Eradication scheme||
Cull positives at the end of current lactation.
Calves from positives should not be retained for breeding.
Once all positives have been removed, this test is classified as 1st qualifying test and back to step '2'
|4. Disease Reduction||
A 'snapshot' or progressive bleed should be taken of animals 12-4 weeks pre calving- see appendix.
If all test positive aimals are not removed, it is advised that the number of positives is ≤10%.