Starwood Equine is committed to keeping you informed of diseases with emerging frequency on the Peninsula. Over recent years, there has been published evidence that leptospirosis is an increasing threat across the USA. In fact, an increased incidence of leptospiral infection has been reported in Northern California this year, after our recent high rainfall and flooding.
Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial infection that is primarily spread by the contamination of water sources by the urine of wildlife. Rodents, raccoons, deer, dogs and skunks can all carry the infection. Additionally, since leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, there is potential risk to humans who come in contact with an infected animal.
The bacteria are primarily transmitted by direct contact of infected urine and intact mucous membranes. Horses often ingest the bacteria in water that has been contaminated. The bacteria can affect the liver, kidneys, and eyes of the horse. It is the leading cause of uveitis (ocular inflammation) in horses and can cause severe pain and blindness. It can also cause pregnant mares to miscarry.
There has been a canine vaccine on the market for many years. Zoetis introduced an equine vaccine for this disease 2.5 years ago. The vaccine requires one booster a few weeks after initial vaccination and can then be performed yearly. We encourage you to take the survey below (click the image) and then discuss whether the vaccine is right for you and your horse with Drs. Kelly and Kristy.