Chronic Neospora caninum infection and repeat abortion in dairy cows: a 3-year study
Bech Sàbat, Gregori
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The serological status of Neospora was monitored in animals older than 6 months in a dairy herd with a 3-year history of prevalent N. caninum and N. caninum-associated abortions. The numbers of animals in the herd tested each year of the study period were 259, 222 and 231, respectively. A separate analysis was performed on the 122 animals persisting in the herd for the 3 years. The overall seroprevalence of N. caninum in the herd decreased from 31.7% in the first year to 24.8% in the second year and to 19.9% in the third year of the study, while the overall abortion rate decreased from 20.6% in the first year to 5.5% in the second year, and 9.9% in the third. These decreases occurred in response to control measures adopted from the second year onwards, such as culling Neospora-seropositive aborted animals and inseminating Neospora-seropositive dams with beef bull semen. Of the total number of abortions recorded in seropositive animals, 51% were repeat abortions that occurred in 36.8% of the animals with a previous history of abortion. The initial seroprevalence of Neospora in the 122 animals followed for the 3 years was 18%, increasing to 21.3% in the second and third years. Seroconversion only occurred in four animals during the second and third years of the study and abortion occurred only in seropositive individuals. Of the total number of abortions recorded in the 122 animals, 61.5% were repeat abortions that occurred in 26.7% of the animals with a previous history of abortion. These results indicate that Neospora seropositivity can be very stable through time and N. caninum infected cows can show a high rate of repeat abortions. The present data reinforce the idea that annual serological screening for Neospora can be an effective and rapid method of detecting N. caninum infection, such that control measures can be established at the farm level.