Neosporosis, a Parasitic Infection in Animals.

in StemSocial4 months ago

I once heard someone say, I do not like cows moving around where my dogs are located, but I have also seen videos of where cows and dogs get along pretty well without a problem, but for someone to fear any form of a close connection between his dog and cows, I fear there must be some possible spread of possible infection that could happen if these two come together.

Neosporosis is a parasitic disease caused by a protozoan parasite, Neospora caninum, it can be found in cattle, horses, dogs, and some other list of animals, dogs, however, happens to be the definitive host of this parasite. A definitive host is the animal body that a parasite needs for multiplication. This infection is not so common, it could however be spread through the consumption of contaminated water and food, as well as through the ingestion of infected tissues. The infection can also be transferred from the mother to the growing fetus in the womb through transplant, this disease has a common symptom of making pregnant cows lose their babies.

When dogs have this infection, they usually do not show any clear signs/symptoms, most cases of shown symptoms are usually seen in young puppies, which comes off in form of partial paralysis of the leg and most especially the hind legs. The appearance of the puppies carrying this infection is often really poor, and in adults, there is a display of neurological signs like the inflammation of the brain, spinal cord, pneumonia, and liver, when the infection continuously spread without swift treatment or when it attacks the animal without any clear sign, the situation may get so severe that it gets out of hand.
The most common cause of getting your dog infected with Neosporosis, is feeding your dog with raw meat as this parasite lives in the muscles of infected cows, deer, and even chickens, making the choice not to cook your meat.

This parasite has been recorded to be widespread in beef cattle herds and diaries, it is also considered a very common cause of abortion in cattle. The life cycle of N.caninum is highly complex, to the point that, there are still aspects that have not yet been clarified, the infective stage is in three phases;

  • Sporozoites: This stage rapidly divides tachyzoites and proliferates bradyzoites slowly within the tissue cysts.

  • Oocysts: This is the stage where parasites are resistant, the parasite at this stage can survive in host feces surviving for a long period of months to years in an environment.

  • Tachyzoites: At this stage, there could be a wide range of nucleated cells which slowly suggests the specificity of the host cell.

N.caninum can be transmitted either vertically or horizontally. Vertical transmission occurs during the terminal stage of gestation or by the transmission of tachyzoites through milk. Horizontal transmission, on the other hand, happens after the ingestion of water containing sporulated oocysts or infected tissues of the intermediate hosts. There is no specific breed known to carry the infection, but age stands as a strong risk factor as adult dogs shed a reduced amount of oocysts than puppies, and puppies stand more chances of developing reexcretion after a new challenge.

There are basically two types of Neosporosis, we have Neosporosis caninum and Neosporosis hughesi. Neosporosis caninum affects different species of animals like dogs, horses, sheep, and cattle.
Neosporosis hughesi on the other hand is a rather new form of Neosporosis that has only been known to infect only horses.

The patterns of transmission in cattle which are either endemic or epidemic in nature are associated positively, based on the number of existing dogs around a farm filled with the presence of cows. Neospora oocysts bear an impervious shell that gives room for their survival in water and soil for longer days after feces may have been decomposed. Cattle do not produce oocysts as they are merely intermediate hosts that get infected by ingesting oocysts. Latent infections stay permanently on their tissues and it is transmitted to canids through the means of carnivorism.

The displayed symptoms of Neosporosis in Dogs.

It is possible for a dog to be a carrier of the infection and show no symptoms at all, however, one of these signs must be displayed;

  • Skin ulcers.
  • Dermatitis.
  • Abortion among pregnant dog females.
  • Liver damage.
  • Respiratory infections.
    An untreated case of neosporosis will result in serious complications such as;
  • Confusion.
  • Weak muscles.
  • Inflammation of the muscle.
  • Shaking and trembling.
  • Leg paralysis.
  • Difficulty with swallowing.
  • Vision issue.
  • Slowed reflex.
  • Walking around in circles.
  • Death.

The determination of Neosporosis infection in your dog will begin with carrying out a group of serology tests, the test carried out will help determine if your dog has neosporosis. This test could possibly indicate the high presence of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphate (ALP). The vet would most likely take different samples of tissues for microscopic evaluation, in addition to this, your vet may also suggest some x-rays to check for the presence of lung infection.

There is no cure for Neosporosis, there are however medications and therapy that can help control the symptoms, diagnosing the infection on time will help hasten the treatment, The most common drug used in the treatment of Neosporosis is Clindamycin, the medication given to pets for 4-8 weeks, puppies who have this disease may not be able to go through the complete phase of the treatment.

Reducing the occurrence of neosporosis in your pet depends greatly on the pet owners;

  • Restrain from allowing your dog to consume fallen stock, and birth fluids from livestock.

  • Constantly de-warm your dog with the proper medication as prescribed by your pet.

  • Farmers must also dispose of off every dead livestock to avoid consumption by pets.

  • Always clean your dog's feces once noticed.


Neosporosis is just one of the infections that can affect our pets, we need to be extra sure about the things we feed them, ensuring that they do not consume any infected type of meat, and abstaining from raw meats seem to be a safe option to get this done. Understanding strange symptoms in your pet will also help you take him for fast treatment and complications will be prevented.




Guess this type of parasite is actually common in herbivorous animals

As explained in the post, my friend, animals like; cattle, horses, and dogs are often the most common.

Thanks for your contribution to the STEMsocial community. Feel free to join us on discord to get to know the rest of us!

Please consider delegating to the @stemsocial account (85% of the curation rewards are returned).

Thanks for including @stemsocial as a beneficiary, which gives you stronger support.