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One of the most commonly diagnosed causes of abortion in cattle in New Zealand.

Neosporosis (Neospora caninum)

Neosporosis is caused by infection with the protozoa Neospora caninum. Neospora has been identified all over the world in many species other than cattle. Currently abortion due to Neospora has been shown in Cattle.

The most common way the Neosporosis is spread is from mother to calf in the uterus. These calves will then be infected for the rest of their lives leaving them at higher risk of aborting. Abortions tend to occur at the fifth month of gestation and can be sporadic or present as abortion storms. 

Dogs are also a host and source of infection for cattle. They become infected themselves by eating infected foetal tissue, afterbirth, or raw birth and then spread the infection through their faeces. It is essential to reduce dog access to raw beef and foetal material and to limit the possibly of faecal contamination by restraining dogs when not working.

Clinical Signs

  • Abortion, between 3 and 9 months of pregnancy (particularly 5 to 7 months)

  • Still birth or premature calf

  • Occasionally, calves will have brain disease at birth

  • No other signs seen in the mother

  • Repeat abortions possible in the same cow


  • IDEXX offers ELISA testing which allows veterinarians to assess infection or exposure status and monitor immune status in Neospora caninum-vaccinated herds. 
    For more information on the IDEXX Neospora laboratory tests please click here




  • Dogs are potentially a source of disease. So prevention must include:

  • Keeping cattle food and water away from dogs and foxes

  • High hygiene standards at calving. Dispose of placental membranes and aborted or dead calves before dogs can get them.

To eliminate Neospora you need to:

  1. Identify infected cattle and cull them: All cattle with antibodies to Neospora are sources of infection to their calves. they have a significantly increased risk of abortion, and, on average, produce less milk than antibody negative cows.

  2. Select only seronegative cattle for breeding: Heifers with antibodies should be sold for meat not bred.

For more information on the IDEXX Neospora laboratory tests please click here

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