Equine Leptospirosis: ‘Now We Have a Vaccine!’

Dr. Craig Carter recently presented an overview of equine leptospirosis and described the newly released vaccine.
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Equine Leptospirosis:
Risk factors for horses contracting leptospirosis include increased rainfall and standing water or bodies of water in the environment. | Photo: iStock
Craig Carter, DVM, PhD, director of the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and professor of epidemiology, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, gave a talk on equine leptospirosis, “Now we have a vaccine!” at the 7th Annual Kentucky Breeders’ Short Course, held Jan. 30 in Lexington.

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic (transmitted between animals and humans) bacterial disease found worldwide that can affect any mammalian species, including humans, wildlife, rodents, livestock, and horses.

Some risk factors for horses contracting leptospirosis are increased rainfall, standing water or bodies of water in the environment, wildlife/domestic animals shedding the organism upon urination, contaminated soil, overcrowding of horses in pastures, and feeding off the ground.

Clinical signs include fever, loss of appetite, swelling of eyes, light sensitivity, ocular discharge, eye cloudiness, redness around eye, lethargy, mid-to-late-term abortion, and kidney and liver failure. The primary signs consist of chronic uveitis (moon blindness) and abortion

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