Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 February 2018

Neospora breaks out in spring-calving herds

Concerns have been raised that foxes could be infected.
Concerns have been raised that foxes could be infected.
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A number of outbreaks of the costly infectious condition neospora result in abortions have been detected in spring-calving dairy herds, a Teagasc disease expert warned.

Both Riona Sayers, a dairy herd health researcher with the farm advisory body, and Roscommon vet John Gilmore reported increased incidents of the parasitic condition that causes late-term abortions.

"I personally know five people who have had an outbreak," said Dr Sayers, who was addressing the control of parasites in herds at the Teagasc Dairy Conference.

"It is topical now as abortions happen at about seven months - usually at this time of year, between September and December, is when you are going to get abortions from neospora and salmonella."

It is caused by the parasite neospora caninum, as dogs and foxes are the final hosts of the parasite and pass infected eggs out in the faeces which can then be consumed by cows. "Our biggest worry is if we infect the wild fox or more of the wild fox population, we then have a wildlife reservoir," said Dr Sayers, urging farmers to ensure material from potential cases are properly disposed of and no grass clippings from lawns are thrown into their fields.

Mr Gilmore said it was becoming a problem with foxes.

"One herd was submitted and I think 40pc of them were positive and that guy had multiple abortions."

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