Submitted to: Veterinary Record
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 31, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Neospora caninum is a recently discovered single celled parasite of livestock and companion animals. It causes abortion in cattle, sheep, goats, and horses. Its life cycle and source of infection are unknown. There is no vaccine to control this infection. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and Auburn University describe an experimental pygmy goat model for neosporosis induced abortion. They observed lesions and parasites in aborted goat fetuses. This model will be of use by scientists to test candidate vaccines for neosporosis.
Seven pregnant pygmy goats (1 control and 6 inoculated) were used. The control goat remained normal throughout the study and delivered 2 healthy kids. Abortion, fetal deaths, and stillbirths were observed in some pregnant goats inoculated with N. caninum. Two pregnant pygmy goats inoculated with N. caninum early in gestation (day 51 of gestation) had fetuses that died and were aborted, or died and were reaborbed. Neospora caninum tachyzoites and lesions were observed in the brains, spinal cords, and hearts of aborted fetuses; parasites were also isolated from the placenta. Four additional pregnant pygmy goats (2 inoculated mid-gestation [day 85], 2 late gestation [day 127]) did not abort after inoculation. However, 1 goat inoculated during mid-gestation delivered a stillborn fetus that had died about 1 week prior to parturition. This goat kid was congenitally infected with N. caninum. Neospora caninum was isolated from the placentas of all inoculated goats examined. Neonatal neosporosis was not observed in the liveborn goat kid. Goats did not undergo abortion or have congenitally infected kids when they were rebred and evaluated for neosporosis.