Neosporum caninum is a protozoan parasite that enters the bloodstream of a pregnant cow and infects the heart, lungs and other tissues of the developing foetus, often resulting in abortion. The parasite is unusual because, to complete its life cycle, it depends on dogs ingesting placental cysts or material from the aborted calf. The parasite lays its eggs inside the dog, and these are passed out in the dog’s faeces onto pasture, where they are in turn eaten by cows. The disease does not harm the cows or humans.
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Photograph by Michael Reichel
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