Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Neospora caninum is a single celled parasite of livestock and companion animals. It causes abortion in livestock and paralysis in dogs. Its life cycle and source of infections are unknown. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and Auburn University have found that coyotes can act as a host for Neospora caninum but are unlikely to be a source of infection.
Antibodies to Neospora caninum were detected in 5 (10%) of 52 coyotes from Texas. Antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii were detected in 32 (62%) of 52 samples from these same coyotes. Four (80%) of the 5 coyotes that were seropositive for N. caninum also had antibodies to T. gondii. Nineteen (37%) of the coyotes did not have antibodies to either parasite. Three coyote pups were inoculated with the brains from mice infected with 3 strains of N. caninum originally isolated from dogs. None of the pups developed neosporosis or excreted N. caninum oocysts in their feces. The pups developed anti-N. caninum antibody titers of > 1:800 but did not develop antibodies to T. gondii. Results of this study indicate that antibodies to T. gondii are more common than antibodies to N. caninum in coyotes. Additionally, young coyotes appear to be resistant to experimental N. caninum infection.