Neospora - immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT) – individual test

Neospora – immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT) – individual test

Species: Bovine, canine

Specimen: Serum

Container: Red top or gel tube

Collection protocol: Venepuncture

Special handling/shipping requirements:  Standard

General information about the disease:

Neospora caninum, an apicomplexan protozoan parasite infection, causes abortions in cattle of all ages. These events may take the form of sporadic or low-level endemic occurrences of abortion, or be of epidemic, “storm-like” proportions. These abortion storms, in particular, can affect large proportions of the at-risk (i.e. in-calf) cow population and cause large economic losses. The dog is the definitive host.

Dogs may suffer from a variety of clinical manifestations of N. caninum infection), but as in cattle, abortions, stillbirths and neonatal deaths are frequent occurrences, while an ascending paralysis of the hind legs is almost pathognomonic in younger affected dogs, less than six months of age. Dermatitis and interstitial pneumonia are also reported.

General information about when this test is indicated:

A high IFAT titre (>1:1000) in a cow that has aborted in the last 2-3 weeks is very strong evidence that Neospora was the cause of the abortion. IFAT titres fall quickly from several thousand to a few hundred over a couple of months following abortion. A low IFAT titre (<1:200) in a cow that has aborted in the previous 2-3 weeks rules out Neospora as the cause of abortion.

An elevated IFAT titre in a dog (> 1:800) with clinical signs of disease would confirm infection. Clinically unaffected dogs can have titres of 1:200 indicating previous exposure and seroconversion

Comparison with other related tests::

The IFAT is the most appropriate assay for individual abortion diagnoses, as titres are elevated around the time of abortion and then quickly decline within a matter of weeks. In the dam, an IFAT titre of ≥1/600 is indicative of an association between the abortion and Neospora infection. For investigation of reproductive disease in groups use the Neospora ELISA.