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Objective—

To determine whether heifers with naturally acquired congenital exposure to Neospora sp would transmit the infection to their offspring during gestation.

Design—

Prospective cohort study.

Animals—

Neonatal heifers on a dairy with a history of Neospora sp infections were selected for the study on the basis of their serum titers to Neospora sp, as determined by the use of indirect fluorescent antibody testing. Seropositive heifers (n = 25) had titers ≥ 1:5,120 and seronegative heifers (25) had titers ≤ 1:80. All heifers were raised and bred on the dairy, and samples were obtained from heifers and their calves at the time of calving.

Procedure—

Blood samples were tested for Neospora sp antibodies. Histologic evaluations, Neospora sp immunohistochemical examinations. and protozoal culturing were performed on samples obtained from selected offspring (second-generation calves).

Results—

Seropositive heifers gave birth to calves with titers ≥ 1:1,280 to Neospora sp. All offspring from seropositive heifers that were necropsied had evidence of Neospora sp infection. All seronegative heifers and their offspring had titers < 1:80 to Neospora sp.

Clinical Implications—

Congenitally acquired Neospora sp infection can persist in clinically normal heifers and be transmitted transplacentally to their offspring. Vertical transmission can be a way by which neosporosis is maintained in herds. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;210:1169–1172)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary:

Four dairy cows that had been successfully rebred following fetal Neospora infection and abortion were identified from 2 drylot dairies. All 4 cows had uncomplicated pregnancies with the birth of 5 full-term calves. The calves all had high precolostral serum IgG antibodies. The precolostral antibodies to Neospora sp as determined by indirect fluorescent antibody test ranged from 5,120 to 20,480, compared with maternal serum and colostral antibody titers from 320 to 1,280. Two calves had mild neurologic limb deficits. Three calves had mild nonsuppurative encephalomyelitis and Neospora organisms were found in the CNS of 3 calves. Findings indicate that repeat transplacental Neospora infections occur in cows. Additionally, calves born from cows with a history of Neospora fetal infection and abortion may have congenital Neospora infections and/or neurologic dysfunctions at birth. The Neospora indirect fluorescent antibody test appears to be a useful antemortem test for detection of calves exposed in utero to Neospora organisms.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association