Neospora caninum tachyzoites attenuated through passage in tissue culture were tested for their ability to induce protective immunity against a lethal challenge dose of parasites. Balb/c mice were each inoculated with either 1×106 live virulent tachyzoites (Group 1) or 1×106 live attenuated tachyzoites (Group 2), while (Group 3) received a control inoculum. All mice were each challenged 28 days later with 5×106 virulent parasites. Histopathological lesions in the brains including necrosis and microgliosis were observed following post-mortem on day 28 post-challenge (p.c.) in 71% of Group 1 and 56% of Group 2. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) of these lesions showed tachyzoites and Neospora antigens to be associated with moderate brain lesions in 17% of Group 1, while in 11% of Group 2 N. caninum tissue cysts were detected, but these were not associated with lesions, Parasite DNA was detected by PCR in the brains of 86% of mice in Group 1 and 56% of mice in Group 2. Following challenge the mice in Group 3 showed high morbidity and 100% mortality within 17 days p.c. Positive IHC for N. caninum was seen in 88% of the Group 3 mice and parasite DNA was detected in all brain samples. This study shows that it is possible to protect against a lethal challenge of N. caninum through inoculation with attenuated or virulent tachyzoites. However, more severe pathology developed in mice initially inoculated with virulent parasites following a secondary challenge, compared to mice initially inoculated with attenuated parasites.