UK Study Vital in Leptospirosis Vaccine Development

Researchers recently celebrated the culmination of years of work with the release of a vaccine for equine leptospirosis.
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UK Study Vital in Leptospirosis Vaccine Development
A vaccine has been available for several years for cattle, swine, sheep, and dogs, but until recently, horses were left unprotected. | Photo: Erica Larson/The Horse
Leptospirosis is a costly disease for livestock and pet owners. Causing problems such as abortion, premature birth, blindness, and more, the disease spreads easily through nose, mouth, and eye contact. A vaccine has been available for several years for cattle, swine, sheep, and dogs, but until recently, horses were left unprotected.

Researchers at the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (VDL), in Lexington, recently celebrated the culmination of many years of work with the release of a vaccine for equine leptospirosis.

In building a case for the vaccine, a process that took 10 years, VDL director Craig Carter, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVPM, and his colleagues approached Zoetis, a global animal health company, with their research. They recruited 29 state laboratories in the United States and one in Ontario, Canada, to gather blood from 1,495 horses.

“What we found confirmed our suspicions,” Carter said. “Horses are exposed to leptospirosis across the country. It’s one of those bugs that are everywhere. It’s a unique, coiled bacteria that persists in moist environments

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