Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii are coccidian parasites (protozoa: Apicomplexa) that cause reproductive losses in ruminants. Although, in sheep, abortion is generally related to T. gondii, potential damage caused by N. caninum must be considered. The aims of this study were to evaluate the frequencies of antibodies against Neospora spp. and T. gondii, and to identify the risk factors related to neosporosis and toxoplasmosis in sheep from ten flocks located in Central-Western, Northwestern, Southwestern, and Southeastern mesoregions of the Rio Grande do Sul state, southern Brazil. Blood samples were collected from 300 sheep (30 per flock) and an epidemiological questionnaire was completed by the farmers. The presence of canids, felids, and rodents, the sources of water for the animals, and their reproductive history were investigated as potential epidemiological factors related to the studied infections. Serum samples were tested by the indirect fluorescent antibody test for the presence of antibodies against Neospora spp. (cutoff 1:50) and T. gondii (cutoff 1:64), with respective frequencies detected being 16.3% (49/300) and 41.3% (124/300). Seropositivity to both parasites was observed in 8% (24/300) of the animals. Neospora spp. and T. gondii were present in 90% (9/10) and 100% (10/10) of the flocks, respectively. The presence of cats in the pastures, pens, and barns was significantly associated (p=0.047) with high frequencies (53.3% to 70%) of antibodies against T. gondii in the flocks. However, no associations were detected (p>0.05) between each of the other risk factors and the frequency of antibodies against Neospora spp. or T. gondii. Results of this study showed a broad distribution of both protozoa in evaluated sheep flocks. Key words: Antibodies. Epidemiological survey. Neosporosis. Toxoplasmosis. Serology. Ifat.
ResumoNeospora caninum e Toxoplasma gondii são parasitos coccídeos (protozoa: Apicomplexa) que causam perdas reprodutivas em ruminantes. Embora o aborto em ovinos geralmente esteja associado a T. gondii, potenciais perdas causadas por N. caninum devem ser consideradas. Os objetivos deste estudo foram