Story: Diseases of sheep, cattle and deer

Neosporum abortion

Neosporum abortion

Neosporum caninum is a protozoan parasite that enters the bloodstream of a pregnant cow and infects the heart, lungs and other tissues of the developing foetus, often resulting in abortion. The parasite is unusual because, to complete its life cycle, it depends on dogs ingesting placental cysts or material from the aborted calf. The parasite lays its eggs inside the dog, and these are passed out in the dog’s faeces onto pasture, where they are in turn eaten by cows. The disease does not harm the cows or humans.

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Photograph by Michael Reichel

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How to cite this page:

Gary Clark, Neville Grace and Ken Drew, 'Diseases of sheep, cattle and deer - Cattle parasites and other problems', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/17519/neosporum-abortion (accessed 6 May 2021)

Story by Gary Clark, Neville Grace and Ken Drew, published 24 Nov 2008