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Prevalence of Neospora caninum and persistent infection with bovine viral diarrhea virus in dairy-breed steers in a feedlot

Bruce R. HoarDepartment of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

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Alana C. McQuarryCountry Veterinary Clinic, 4839 E Butte Rd, Live Oak, CA 95953

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Sharon K. HietalaDepartment of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the prevalence and effect of Neospora caninum infection and persistent infection (PI) with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) on weight gain, morbidity, and mortality rate in dairy-breed steer calves located on a feedlot in California.

Design—Prospective cohort observational study.

Animals—900 dairy-breed steer calves in 2 pens.

Procedures—The 3- to 4-month-old calves were evaluated for serum antibodies against N caninum and infection with BVDV at entry to the feedlot. Five months later, sera were again analyzed for anti–N caninum antibodies; calves that were determined to have BVDV infection initially were retested to evaluate PI status. Average daily gain, morbidity, and deaths were recorded for all calves.

Results—Among 900 calves, prevalence of N caninum infection was 16.7% (95% confidence interval, 14.3% to 19.3%); prevalence of BVDV-associated PI was 0.2% (95% confidence interval, 0.03% to 0.9%). Morbidity rate and time to first illness were not significantly different between calves that were seropositive or seronegative for N caninum.Atthe second sample collection, weight and average daily gain of calves that were seropositive for N caninum was less than that of seronegative steers in 1 pen, whereas these measures did not differ between groups in the other pen. Statistical power was insufficient to evaluate the effect of BVDV PI on any outcome measurement.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although N caninum serostatus had no significant effect on morbidity rate, some seropositive calves had reduced growth, compared with seronegative calves, 5 months after entry to the feedlot.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the prevalence and effect of Neospora caninum infection and persistent infection (PI) with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) on weight gain, morbidity, and mortality rate in dairy-breed steer calves located on a feedlot in California.

Design—Prospective cohort observational study.

Animals—900 dairy-breed steer calves in 2 pens.

Procedures—The 3- to 4-month-old calves were evaluated for serum antibodies against N caninum and infection with BVDV at entry to the feedlot. Five months later, sera were again analyzed for anti–N caninum antibodies; calves that were determined to have BVDV infection initially were retested to evaluate PI status. Average daily gain, morbidity, and deaths were recorded for all calves.

Results—Among 900 calves, prevalence of N caninum infection was 16.7% (95% confidence interval, 14.3% to 19.3%); prevalence of BVDV-associated PI was 0.2% (95% confidence interval, 0.03% to 0.9%). Morbidity rate and time to first illness were not significantly different between calves that were seropositive or seronegative for N caninum.Atthe second sample collection, weight and average daily gain of calves that were seropositive for N caninum was less than that of seronegative steers in 1 pen, whereas these measures did not differ between groups in the other pen. Statistical power was insufficient to evaluate the effect of BVDV PI on any outcome measurement.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although N caninum serostatus had no significant effect on morbidity rate, some seropositive calves had reduced growth, compared with seronegative calves, 5 months after entry to the feedlot.

Contributor Notes

Dr. McQuarry's present address is the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Animal Health Branch, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Supported by the New Faculty Grant program of the University of California, Davis.

Presented at the 86th Annual Meeting of the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases, St Louis, December 2005.

Address correspondence to Dr. Hoar.