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Check this website for (Gondim, et al. 2004) about Neospora caninum antibody seroprevalence in 39% of free-ranging wolves in NE Minnesota. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/nwrc/is/04pubs/pitt041.pdf

We at KBC don't know the origin or date of the following publication.
 Recognizing and Preventing Neospora caninum Infections Potentially Transmitted by Dogs, Coyotes and Wolves


Neospora caninum is a major cause of abortions, premature births and impaired calves in cattle. First recognized in 1988, and linked to dogs in 1998, this parasite causes an infection called neosporosis. Studies have shown that at least half the dairy and beef herds in the United States have one or more animals that have been exposed. In an infected herd, up to 30 percent of the animals may test positive, and some cows may abort several times. With good herd management, through, you can reduce this drain on your profits.


The Disease

Neospora caninum is a microscopic protozoan parasite, in the coccidian group.  Cows congenitally infected with Neospora appear healthy, but about 20 percent will abort at least once in their lifetimes. Cows typically abort between the fourth and seventh months of gestation. If they do not abort, they are likely to pass the infection to their calves.  Fetuses may be reabsorbed prior to three months of gestation, in which case the cow may come back into heat.  Fetal mummification and still births can also occur.  Congenitally infected calves are usually born healthy and robust and develop normally, but pass the infection on to their offspring. In this way, Neospora caninum perpetuates itself in lines of cattle.


The second way that cattle become infected is through consuming feed or water contaminated with oocysts, or eggs, from the parasite, or grazing on contaminated pastures. These oocysts are shed in the feces of dogs, coyotes and probably foxes and wolves. These animals become infected by eating infected animals, placentas or fetuses.


Abortions from dam-to-fetus infections tend to be sporadic. Therefore, if your herd has an outbreak, or “storm,” of laboratory-confirmed Neospora abortions, you should suspect infection by contamination of feed and/or water.



The only way to be sure Neospora caninum caused abortions is to get laboratory confirmation.


If fetuses are available, your veterinarian will submit a blood serum sample from the dam, placenta, and the entire first- or second-trimester fetus to a diagnostic laboratory for necropsy and testing. For the large third-trimester fetuses, your veterinarian will

do the necropsy and submit samples of tissues, stomach contents and blood serum.


If fetuses are not available, your veterinarian will submit blood serum from affected cows within three weeks of the abortion along with samples from other pregnant cows for statistical comparison. If many more of the cows in the abortion group test positive for Neospora than the pregnant group, Neospora is probably the cause.


Neospora vaccines interfere with blood tests for Neospora. The test cannot differentiate

between antibodies produced in response to the vaccine and those produced from exposure to the parasite.

The Canine Connection

Science has proven that dogs and coyotes can spread Neospora through feces. The evidence is less conclusive that foxes and wolves shed oocysts. However, some studies have shown that, as the density of wild canines increases in an area, so does the prevalence of Neospora infections in cattle. Other researchers suggest the protozoa cycles between wild canines and deer, spilling over to cattle.


It appears that dogs shed oocysts for less than three weeks after infection. Under certain

conditions, oocysts can survive for months in the environment, leading to an abortion storm later.


Neospora caninum has also been detected in deer, moose, sheep, goats and horses.


Controlling and Preventing Neosporosis in Your cattle

· Work with your herd veterinarian to develop a complete written biosecurity plan to

minimize introducing and spreading any harmful bacteria, viruses or protozoa. This is

especially important for your calves, close-up cows and transition cows.


· Keep maternity pens clean, dry, and spacious. Disinfect regularly.


· Prevent canines from coming in contact with cows and heifers at calving time.


· Properly dispose of dead cattle, placentas, aborted fetuses, stillborn calves, cattle entrails, dead canines, and dead deer or their entrails/trimmings outside of pasture areas, feed supplies, and watering areas, so that dogs and wild canines cannot feed on them.


· Prevent dogs and wild canines from defecating in or near feed and water sources for

cattle. This is especially important for stored feed, commodity piles, water supplies and

pastures. You can get specific ideas from your veterinarian or local county extension.


· Talk to your herd veterinarian about a comprehensive vaccination program that may

include using the Neospora vaccine.


· In a recent study, Neospora caninum antibody seroprevalence was found in 39% of free-ranging wolves in Northeastern Minnesota (Gondim, et al. 2004).


· In blood samples taken during depredation control trapping by USDA-Wildlife Services in 2004, 8/11 (72.7%) of adult wolves from 5 counties tested positive for Neospora caninum.


· Blood samples and scat samples taken in 2005 are currently being tested.


· Three Minnesota beef herds that had wolf predation, tested their herds, and documented Neospora caninum infections in 2005.



This information was developed by the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the Minnesota USDA – Wildlife Services Program




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