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Using beef-breed semen in seropositive dams for the control of bovine neosporosis

Sala, Giulia, Gazzonis, Alessia, Boccardo, Antonio, Coppoletta, Eleonora, Galasso, Chiara, Manfredi, Maria Teresa, Pravettoni, Davide
Preventive veterinary medicine 2018 v.161 pp. 127-133
antibodies, beef, cows, dairy animals, dairy cattle, disease transmission, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, equations, heifers, herds, insemination, neosporosis, risk, screening, semen, seroprevalence, statistical analysis
A program for controlling bovine neosporosis based only on the use of beef semen, without culling seropositive animals, was evaluated in a closed dairy cattle herd over a 5-year period (2013–2017). The program was based on individual and periodic serological screenings to identify seropositive breeders. Seropositive cows were inseminated with beef-breed semen, thus excluding their descendants from the remount in order to prevent the vertical transmission of the disease. Seronegative animals, as well as heifers at first insemination, were tested before each insemination.Sera of 1097 cattle were examined by a commercial indirect ELISA for the detection of antibodies anti-Neospora caninum. To verify the difference in seropositivity values among years of sampling, statistical analysis through generalized estimation equations (GEEs) was performed, also considering the effects of age, lineages, and occurrence of abortion. A seroprevalence of 33.8% was found in the first screening. The prevalence and incidence of the infection within the herd decreased significantly in 2017 (P = 28.9%, I = 1.4%) (p-value = 0.0001). The family line investigation detected a higher risk of being seropositive for a cow born to a seropositive dam (p-value = 0.0001) than to a seronegative dam, decreasing both the apparently vertical and horizontal transmissions. The number of spontaneous abortions decreased after the first year of the study (23 in 2013 to 6 in 2017). Seropositive animals were associated with abortion events (p-value = 0.0001).Although an eradication of N. caninum was not achieved at the end of the study period, a significant reduction in prevalence and incidence of neosporosis in the herd and a reduction of the abortion rate was achieved with the application of this control plan in five years, without culling a high number of seropositive potential milk-producing animals.