Neospora caninum infection does not affect early pregnancy in dairy cattle

F. López-Gatius, M. Pabón, S. Almería

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86 Citations (Scopus)


This study was designed to evaluate the relationship between Neospora caninum infection prior to pregnancy, as determined through maternal serology, and the subsequent occurrence of abortion in dairy cattle. Special emphasis was placed on pregnancy losses in the first trimester of pregnancy. Neospora caninum antibodies were analyzed by commercial ELISA in 2773 pregnant animals (2022 parous cows and 751 heifers) from six herds. The mean seroprevalence of antibodies to N. caninum in the herds was 15.1% (n=419). From gestation Day 34 to the 90th day of pregnancy, there were 183 abortions (6.6% of all pregnancies) (23 in Neospora positive animals). After 90 days of pregnancy, the number of abortions was 146 (5.3%); 126 occurring during the second and 20 during the third trimester of pregnancy (105 in Neospora positive animals). Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed on data from each animal using abortion before or after 90 days of pregnancy as the dependent variable, and Neospora positivity, herd, pregnancy season, and parity (parous or nonparous) as independent factors. No significant effects of Neospora positivity and herd were found on the abortion rate before 90 days of pregnancy. Based on the odds ratio, the abortion rate was 4 times higher (P<0.0001) in animals that became pregnant in the warm than in the cool period, and 3.7 times higher (P<0.0001) in parous than in nonparous animals. Neospora positivity was the only variable included in the logistic regression model for abortions occurring after 90 days of pregnancy. Seropositivity in an animal increased the probability of abortion by an odds ratio of 18.9 (P<0.0001; 95% confidence interval 12.9-27.8). Season, parity, and herd showed no effect. The results of the present study suggest that chronic N. caninum infection prior to pregnancy appears not to affect the early fetal period, but does have a significant abortive effect after 90 days of gestation. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606-613
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2004


  • Abortion
  • Dairy cattle
  • Early pregnancy
  • Neospora caninum
  • Serology


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