Seroprevalence of Neospora caninum in a wild pig (Sus scrofa) population in Oklahoma



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Neospora caninum is a protozoan parasite reported as a leading cause of cattle abortions and reproductive failure worldwide. After ingestion of infected tissues, definitive hosts such as coyotes (Canis latrans) and dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) excrete oocysts into the environment and can contaminate food and water sources available to livestock. Ingestion of N. caninum oocysts results in infection of cattle and other intermediate hosts. The parasite can then be vertically transmitted, resulting in spontaneous abortions, fetal reabsorption, and decreased milk production, costing the cattle industry approximately $1.3 billion annually. With wild pig (Sus scrofa) populations nearing six million in the United States, contact between wild pigs and livestock is inevitable. This is a result of an already widespread geographic distribution combined with continuous, rapid range expansion. As a known reservoir for numerous fungal, bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases, wild pigs are of particular importance for human and veterinary health relative to the prevention of infectious diseases. Seroprevalence of N. caninum in wild pig populations was documented in the United States in 2013 and 2016 at 15.8% and 15.0%, respectively, raising the question as to their frequency of exposure. In collaboration with the Noble Research Institute, 521 wild pigs were captured in southern Oklahoma during a three-year study. From this collection, blood and tissue samples were collected from 389 wild pigs and 89 serum samples were screened for N. caninum antibody presence using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). The first kit utilized was from MyBioSource and seroprevalence of this population was observed at 66.2% ((p ) ̂= 0.678). The same samples were re-tested using a competitive ELISA from Veterinary Medical Research and Development (VMRD) and the observed seroprevalence was 1.2%. These results address a lack of consistent methodology and availability of controls when assessing disease prevalence in wildlife. This data also signifies the importance of continued disease surveillance in wild pigs to better understand their exposure to N. caninum in the environment.



Wild pig, Neospora caninum, Neosporosis, Seroprevalence, Wildlife disease