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Title: Fecal and serological survey of Neospora caninum in farm dogs in Costa Rica

item ROMERO, J
item DOLZ, G
item Hill, Dolores
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2007
Publication Date: 11/3/2007
Citation: Palavicini, P., Romero, J.J., Dolz, G., Jiminez, A.E., Hill, D.E., Dubey, J.P. 2007. Fecal and serological survey of Neospora caninum in farm dogs in Costa Rica. Veterinary Parasitology. 149:265-270.

Interpretive Summary: Neospora caninum is a single-celled parasite. It causes abortion in cattle and paralysis in companion animals. It is the most important cause of abortion in dairy cattle. Dogs and coyotes are its definitive hosts and main reservoirs of infection. This parasite is transmitted efficiently from the cow to the calf transplacentally. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and an university in Costa Rica report finding N. caninum in feces of naturally-infected farm dogs from Costa Rica.The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.

Technical Abstract: To detect oocysts of N. caninum in dog feces and to determine the excretion pattern in dogs from specialized dairy farms in Costa Rica, a total of 265 fecal samples were collected every 15 days for 7 months from February to August, 2005. Fecal samples were examined for N. caninum oocysts microscopically, by DNA detection using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and by bioassay,. N. caninum oocysts were not detected microscopically in any of the fecal samples. N. caninum DNA was detected by PCR in four fecal samples, twice from one dog. Sera of 31 dogs were examined for antibodies to N. caninum by a competitive-inihibition ELISA (VMRD®) and an indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT). For this, 28 dogs were bled twice, 4 months apart (March and July, 2005). Fifteen (48.4%) of 31 dogs had antibodies to N. caninum by ELISA in the first sampling. No seroconversion was detected in the second sampling. Only 1 dog tested positive to N. caninum by both ELISA and PCR. The excretion of N. caninum oocysts in feces of naturally infected dogs in Costa Rican dairy farms was detected for the first time, and this is one of the first reports of a naturally infected dog that repeated excretion of oocysts within a short period of time.