The disease Neosporosis was first described in dogs in Norway. The infected dogs had a neuromuscular condition that resulted in hind limb paralysis. The protozoan that caused the disease was Neospora caninum. Since the initial discovery, the parasite has been a nemesis to cattle producers worldwide. It is one of the more common causes of abortion in cattle.
N. caninum is an intracellular protozoan. The definitive host is dogs or other canids such as coyotes or foxes. Canids are infected with the parasite by ingesting cysts from infected tissues such as an aborted fetus, placenta or tissue from a dead cow or other intermediate host.
Once the parasite is ingested, the lifecycle begins. The completion of the lifecycle ends with the passing of oocysts (eggs) in the feces.
Learn more in the September issue of OKFR.