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Anti-Neospora caninum antibodies in milk in relation to production losses in dairy cattle

González-Warleta, Marta, Castro-Hermida, José Antonio, Carro-Corral, Carmen, Mezo, Mercedes
Preventive veterinary medicine 2011 v.101 no.1-2 pp. 58-64
Neospora caninum, abortion (animals), animal reproduction, antibodies, bulk milk, cows, dairy cattle, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, farms, herds, linear models, milk, milk analysis, milk production, odds ratio, regression analysis, risk factors
A comprehensive field study was carried out with the following objectives: (a) to assess the usefulness of individual and bulk tank milk analysis for determining Neospora caninum serostatus in individual cows and herds, and (b) to study the associations between N. caninum infection status (based on milk testing), and several productive and reproductive parameters in the animals. Antibodies were detected with a commercially available ELISA test (Bio K 192/5). Analysis of paired serum and milk samples from 1134 lactating cows on 38 farms revealed that 97.6% of the ELISA results were coincident, irrespective of whether serum or milk samples were used. Moreover, multiple linear regression analysis revealed that 86.0% of the variations in ELISA values in milk were due to variations in the serum. The measurement of antibodies in bulk tank milk was a good estimator of the herd level status of N. caninum infection, and enabled detection of infection in 94.7% herds with ≥10.0% seropositive cows and/or in all herds with >4% highly seropositive cows. The odds ratio for abortion in seropositive animals was 9.1 times higher than in seronegative animals. The infection serostatus was also a significant risk factor, as the odds ratio for abortion was even higher (12.0 times) in cows categorized as highly seropositive. ELISA values for the bulk milk from 387 randomly selected herds were negatively associated with average milk production. Moreover, milk production losses mainly occurred on farms categorized as highly positive (i.e. herds with ≥20.0% seropositive cows).