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Economic considerations for diagnostic and control options for Neospora caninum-induced abortions in endemically infected herds of beef cattle

Robert L. Larson DVM, PhD, DACT1, David K. Hardin DVM, DACT2, and Vern L. Pierce PhD3
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  • 1 Commercial Agriculture Program, University Outreach and Extension, Department of Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.
  • | 2 Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762.
  • | 3 Department of Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

Abstract

Objective—To compare economic outcome for herds not exposed to Neospora caninum with that for herds with various seroprevalences of N caninum infection and evaluate 3 control strategies.

Design—Economic simulation model.

Sample Population—Beef herds with various seroprevalences of N caninum infection.

Procedure—A 5-year simulation model was used. Control strategies that were evaluated included culling females that fail to calve, selling seropositive females and purchasing seronegative replacements, and excluding the daughters of seropositive dams as potential replacements.

Results—For a 5-year period with low prices for feeder calves, endemic N caninum infection decreased mean return to fixed assets by 22.2% when true seroprevalence was 10% and by 29.9% when true seroprevalence was 70%. Percentage decrease in return to fixed assets was less dramatic when a 5-year period with high prices for feeder calves was evaluated. Analysis indicated that 2 control strategies (culling females that fail to give birth to a calf and selling seropositive female cattle and purchasing seronegative replacement female cattle) were not likely to be economically beneficial. The third control strategy (testing the entire herd for N caninum infection and excluding the female offspring of seropositive dams as replacements) appeared to be a reasonable control strategy.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—For the assumptions in the model, endemic N caninum infection decreases return to fixed assets for cow-calf herds. Of the potential control strategies evaluated, testing the entire herd for N caninum infection and excluding the daughters of seropositive dams as potential replacements provided the best economic return. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:1597–1604)

Abstract

Objective—To compare economic outcome for herds not exposed to Neospora caninum with that for herds with various seroprevalences of N caninum infection and evaluate 3 control strategies.

Design—Economic simulation model.

Sample Population—Beef herds with various seroprevalences of N caninum infection.

Procedure—A 5-year simulation model was used. Control strategies that were evaluated included culling females that fail to calve, selling seropositive females and purchasing seronegative replacements, and excluding the daughters of seropositive dams as potential replacements.

Results—For a 5-year period with low prices for feeder calves, endemic N caninum infection decreased mean return to fixed assets by 22.2% when true seroprevalence was 10% and by 29.9% when true seroprevalence was 70%. Percentage decrease in return to fixed assets was less dramatic when a 5-year period with high prices for feeder calves was evaluated. Analysis indicated that 2 control strategies (culling females that fail to give birth to a calf and selling seropositive female cattle and purchasing seronegative replacement female cattle) were not likely to be economically beneficial. The third control strategy (testing the entire herd for N caninum infection and excluding the female offspring of seropositive dams as replacements) appeared to be a reasonable control strategy.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—For the assumptions in the model, endemic N caninum infection decreases return to fixed assets for cow-calf herds. Of the potential control strategies evaluated, testing the entire herd for N caninum infection and excluding the daughters of seropositive dams as potential replacements provided the best economic return. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:1597–1604)