Neosporosis can cause substantial economic losses in beef herds due to poor performance and abortions. Tom Shelton, senior technical services specialist for Intervet, says the disease can create a cycle of poor performance, lower gains and abortions within a herd. The cycle occurs when Neospora-infected dogs or other canids shed the parasite eggs onto grass and feed ingested by a previously clean herd. The disease attacks the brain and nervous system in the fetus of an infected female. If the fetus survives, it may appear to be normal but most likely will serve as a host for the disease, thereby passing the disease from generation to generation. Dr. Shelton says clinical signs of neosporosis can be subtle, and he encourages producers to work with their veterinarians to reduce the risk of the disease. He also offers the following tips to prevent losses due to neosporosis:

  • Properly dispose of aborted fetuses and placentas.
  • Minimize feed contamination by keeping dogs and other canids away from feed.
  • Remove infected cattle from the breeding herd, if feasible.
  • Reduce animal stress and other infectious diseases.
  • Vaccinate cows to protect them from neosporosis. NeoGuard is the first vaccine approved by USDA for use in the reduction of abortions caused by Neospora caninum.