Rising Neospora Cases Prompt Vet Response

UK and Ireland - A pathogen hosted in dogs which causes abortion in cattle has been added to a cattle health registry due to rising levels of infection in the UK and Ireland.
calendar icon 10 April 2015
clock icon 2 minute read

Parasite-based disease Neospora caninum joined the Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS), a regulatory body for the control and eradication of non-statutory diseases, in so doing becoming the first disease new disease on the programme for 15 years. 

CHeCS say the decision followed a 51 per cent infection level across the UK’s cattle herds.

Costs from Neospora are mainly from the loss of calves and, in the case of the dairy industry, failure to get cows back into milk, with estimates at £3000 losses on an average 121 cow dairy herd.

Farmers are advised to become involved in one of the licensed health schemes and, according to government veterinarians, should be wary of dogs around pregnant animals.

Gareth Hateley, veterinarian at the Animal and Plant Health Agency, said: “Dogs should also be prevented from having access to calving areas or parts of the farm where pregnant cattle are kept in order to stop them becoming infected from eating placenta or abortion material.

“Dog owners should be made aware of the risks too; if the dogs are infected and they don’t pick up faeces after it, there is a possibility that they could be leaving infected material for cattle to eat as well as starting off the whole cycle again.”

Closed herds have a reduced risk of introducing Neospora and disposal of cattle tissues and aborted foetuses should be carried out in the absence of licenses drugs of vaccines, advise vets.


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