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Department of Primary Industries:
Neospora Abortion In Cattle

Abortion in cattle due to the protozoan parasite Neospora caninum was first identified in the early 1990s, although no doubt it has always been present.

By Dr Jeff Cave, District Veterinary Officer, Wodonga - 16th April 2003 - Back to News

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Abortion in cattle due to the protozoan parasite Neospora caninum was first identified in the early 1990s, although no doubt it has always been present.

It is now recognised as a common worldwide cause of abortion in cattle, accounting for approximately one third of all abortions. Generally it has been seen as more of a problem in dairy cattle than in beef cattle.

Typically abortions due to Neospora occur in mid to late pregnancy. Other causes of abortion at a similar time include Leptospirosis and Pestivirus. Brucellosis, which has now been successfully eradicated from Australia, was once the most common cause of abortion during late pregnancy.

Neospora can be diagnosed through a blood sample from the affected cow or by laboratory examination of the aborted foetus.

Neospora is transmitted from the cow to her developing calf leading to its abortion. If the calf survives this infection it may be weakened and die soon after birth. Alternatively the calf may survive and become an infected carrier.

Animals infected with Neospora are generally less productive.

Recently it has been established that dogs are an important part of the Neospora life cycle. Infection in dogs occurs by ingestion of the afterbirth or aborted foetus. Dogs may spread the disease in their faeces. Dogs themselves are rarely clinically affected.

There is currently no effective cure for Neospora. Therefore emphasis should be placed on its prevention.

Consideration should be given to culling cows that abort due to Neospora, as they are likely to abort repeatedly and will perpetuate the cycle.

In addition, dogs should be controlled particularly around calving when abortions may occur.

For further information please contact your local veterinarian or DPI Veterinary or Animal Health Officer.

Source: http://gippsland.com/

Published by: news@gippsland.com



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