A protozoan named Neospora caninum is responsible for this disease in dogs. While this parasite is found in many other animals such as horses and cattle, dogs happen to be the definitive host. Neosporosis is not a common disease, but ingestion of food or water that contains this organism as well as eating the tissues of infected animals may lead to infection in dogs. Transplacental transmission of the disease can happen while the fetus is in the uterus of the mother.
Neosporosis may affect puppies as well as adult dogs, but puppies are the most affected. The legs of the affected puppies may get paralyzed. The hind legs are usually the first parts to be affected, but the paralysis may progress rapidly, resulting in rigidity of muscles. Many dogs usually have only mild symptoms of nervous system involvement such as brain and spinal cord inflammation. Neosporosis typically affect both peripheral as well as spinal nervous systems. Inflammation of various organs such as the lungs, liver and the brain may get expressed in their typical symptoms. The dog may develop skin sores too.
Antibiotic treatment may be successful when the disease is treated in the initial stages. There are no vaccines to prevent neosporosis.