There is an evidence that the epidemiology of neosporosis differs in dairy and beef cattle, such that beef cattle carry a lower risk of abortion. The aim of the present study was to establish whether artificial insemination using semen from beef bulls could reduce the risk of abortion in dairy cows sero-positive for the Neospora caninum parasite. Our study was based on yearly serological screening for neosporosis and on the confirmation of Neospora infection in aborted fetuses in two high-producing dairy herds with a mean 28% seroprevalence of N. caninum antibodies. The study population comprised of 273 pregnancies in seropositive animals: 156 pregnancies monitored after insemination using Holstein-Friesian semen and 117 after insemination using beef bull semen. Abortion rates for these animals were 28.2% (77 of 273), 34.6% (54 of 156) and 19.7% (23 of 117). Logistic regression analysis indicated no significant effects of lactation number and previous abortion on the abortion rate. Based on the odds ratio, a 1-unit increase in the Neospora antibody titre yielded a 1.01-fold increase in the abortion rate. The likelihood of abortion was two times higher for cows in one of the two herds and 2.8 times lower (one of 0.36) for pregnant cows inseminated with beef bull semen rather than Holstein-Friesian semen. Our results indicate that the use of beef bull semen can reduce the risk of abortion in dairy cows, and suggest that annual screening for neosporosis, specifically the antibody titre to the protozoan, could be an useful predictor of abortion risk in reproductive health programmes. © 2005 Blackwell Verlag, Berlin.
|Journal||Journal of Veterinary Medicine Series B: Infectious Diseases and Veterinary Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2005|