Objective—To examine the relationship between exposure to Neospora caninum and abortion in dairy cows during their first, second, third, and fourth or later lactations and to establish the main mode of transmission in female calves from birth until their first pregnancy was terminated by abortion or parturition.
Design—Prospective observational study.
Animals—460 Holstein cows and 79 female calves.
Procedure—Cows were classified as seropositive or seronegative to N caninum within 7 days after calving; incidence of abortion was compared between groups during different lactations. Blood samples were collected from female calves before ingestion of colostrum and every 6 months until their first pregnancy was terminated by abortion or parturition; number of seropositive calves was compared between seropositive and seronegative dams.
Results—During the first pregnancy of their second lactation, risk of abortion for seropositive cows was 2.8 times that of seronegative cows. Among 10 calves born to seropositive cows, 4 were classified as seropositive at birth and thereafter. Among 69 calves born to seronegative cows, all were classified as seronegative at birth; 67 calves remained seronegative thereafter.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Exposure to N caninum alone was not significantly associated with abortion in cows during the first, third, and fourth or later lactations. Seropositive cows that have aborted previously may have subsequent abortions attributable to N caninum. Congenital infection was the main mode of N caninum transmission in a cohort of female calves. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1742–1746)