Neospora species infection in a herd of dairy cattle

Camilla Björkman From the Departments of Cattle and Sheep Diseases, PO Box 7019 (Björkman) and Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Stenlund), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-750 07 Uppsala; the Department of Parasitology, National Veterinary Institute and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-750 07 Uppsala (Holmdahl, Uggla); and Dala-Gävle Husdjur, Association for Livestock, Frelugavägen 19, S-821 30 Bollnäs (Johansson).

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Olof Johansson From the Departments of Cattle and Sheep Diseases, PO Box 7019 (Björkman) and Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Stenlund), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-750 07 Uppsala; the Department of Parasitology, National Veterinary Institute and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-750 07 Uppsala (Holmdahl, Uggla); and Dala-Gävle Husdjur, Association for Livestock, Frelugavägen 19, S-821 30 Bollnäs (Johansson).

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Susanne Stenlund From the Departments of Cattle and Sheep Diseases, PO Box 7019 (Björkman) and Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Stenlund), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-750 07 Uppsala; the Department of Parasitology, National Veterinary Institute and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-750 07 Uppsala (Holmdahl, Uggla); and Dala-Gävle Husdjur, Association for Livestock, Frelugavägen 19, S-821 30 Bollnäs (Johansson).

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O. Joakim M. Holmdahl From the Departments of Cattle and Sheep Diseases, PO Box 7019 (Björkman) and Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Stenlund), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-750 07 Uppsala; the Department of Parasitology, National Veterinary Institute and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-750 07 Uppsala (Holmdahl, Uggla); and Dala-Gävle Husdjur, Association for Livestock, Frelugavägen 19, S-821 30 Bollnäs (Johansson).

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Arvid Uggla From the Departments of Cattle and Sheep Diseases, PO Box 7019 (Björkman) and Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Stenlund), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-750 07 Uppsala; the Department of Parasitology, National Veterinary Institute and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S-750 07 Uppsala (Holmdahl, Uggla); and Dala-Gävle Husdjur, Association for Livestock, Frelugavägen 19, S-821 30 Bollnäs (Johansson).

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Objective

To investigate the route of transmission of Neospora sp in a herd of dairy cattle in which sporadic abortions had been observed since the establishment of the farm in 1980.

Design

Serum samples were screened for antibodies to Neospora sp, and records from an artificial insemination program were analyzed.

Animals

58 female cattle.

Procedure

An ELISA was used to screen serum samples for antibodies to Neospora sp. Fertility, calf mortality, and relationships between specific cattle were investigated. Statistical analysis was performed on the fertility data.

Results

Antibodies were detected in 17 of 58 (29%) tested cattle. All seropositive cattle were descendants of 2 cows purchased in 1980. Cattle that were descendants of those 2 cows were compared with their herdmates, but significant differences were not detected in the number of inseminations per confirmed pregnancy or in the number of cattle that required more than 1 insemination/pregnancy. Since 1980, there were 323 confirmed pregnancies in the herd, and calf mortality (prenatal and perinatal mortality) was 24 of 323 (7%).

Clinical implications

Congenital transmission of Neospora organisms together with the apparent lack of horizontal transmission observed in the herd reported here indicated that Neospora sp has the ability to be transmitted from dam to offspring for several generations. This mode of transmission would explain the maintenance of infection in a population of cattle despite the lack of a definitive host for the parasite. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1441-1444)

Objective

To investigate the route of transmission of Neospora sp in a herd of dairy cattle in which sporadic abortions had been observed since the establishment of the farm in 1980.

Design

Serum samples were screened for antibodies to Neospora sp, and records from an artificial insemination program were analyzed.

Animals

58 female cattle.

Procedure

An ELISA was used to screen serum samples for antibodies to Neospora sp. Fertility, calf mortality, and relationships between specific cattle were investigated. Statistical analysis was performed on the fertility data.

Results

Antibodies were detected in 17 of 58 (29%) tested cattle. All seropositive cattle were descendants of 2 cows purchased in 1980. Cattle that were descendants of those 2 cows were compared with their herdmates, but significant differences were not detected in the number of inseminations per confirmed pregnancy or in the number of cattle that required more than 1 insemination/pregnancy. Since 1980, there were 323 confirmed pregnancies in the herd, and calf mortality (prenatal and perinatal mortality) was 24 of 323 (7%).

Clinical implications

Congenital transmission of Neospora organisms together with the apparent lack of horizontal transmission observed in the herd reported here indicated that Neospora sp has the ability to be transmitted from dam to offspring for several generations. This mode of transmission would explain the maintenance of infection in a population of cattle despite the lack of a definitive host for the parasite. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;208:1441-1444)

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