Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Neospora caninum – closure of a permissive path

no_walking350Neospora is a protozoan parasite that requires both cattle and dogs to complete its life cycle. The dog eats placental or foetal material infected with the protozoan, it then sheds oocysts (the eggs) in its poo which persist in the environment for a long time. Cattle then graze an area where the dog poo has left oocysts and the cycle continues.  The cow then has an increased risk of abortion and will pass the parasite through the placenta to her unborn calf.

Our understanding from the vet is that this parasite has an extremely rare chance of causing problems in dogs and has no ill effects in humans. Worming dogs has no effect on the Neospora parasite.

We have identified Neospora caninum as a problem on our farm from blood tests following abortions in our herd.

What can we do? There is no vaccine or cure but we can follow our vet’s advice to keep dogs away from any calving areas. This will help break the parasite’s life cycle. On the farm this means we have closed a permissive path that crosses the field where calving takes place. This runs from Campton Road, opposite Town Farm Garage, to the old pub corner.

However, we cannot control what comes in from outside the farm. The other advice is to keep all feed, grass, and hay free from dog faeces. This is very difficult given all the footpaths that cross the farm, but as much as we can, we will continue to encourage dog owners to pick up after their dogs.

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