Infographic Distills Research Investigating a Parasite that may be Involved in Equine Abortions
A study has uncovered that exposure to Neospora parasites is widespread among Ontario broodmares and may play a role in Equine Abortions. Dr. Chenier, MSc student Olivia Johns and epidemiologist Dr. David Pearl at the Ontario Veterinary College have collected samples from Ontario breeding farms to find seroprevalence is close to 30%.
Risk factors identified for exposure to N. caninum are similar to that seen for cattle, including presence of farm dogs and high stocking density. These findings are consistent with the known life cycle for N. caninum, where canines are definitive hosts, shedding parasite oocysts in their feces. Diligence is required in cleaning up after farm dogs and rodent control. Feeding hay up from off the ground is recommended.
Risk of exposure to Neospora hughesi was lower on farms with other livestock. This may reflect better biosecurity practices on those farms or the impact of grazing practices of other livestock species to reduce environmental load of parasites contaminating pastures.
Additional research is needed to determine the life cycle of Neospora Hughesi. It is hoped the following infographic will prove useful to breeding farms seeking to mitigate risks that may be associated with equine abortion. Special thanks also go out to Dr. John Barta, parasitologist, and Dr. Robert Foster, pathologist for their assistance in this study.
Interested in hearing more about this research? Dr. Chenier speaks about Neospora parasites in an Ontario Animal Health Network podcast.