Leptospirosis vaccine introduced

The first vaccine that protects horses against the bacterial infection leptospirosis is now available.
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The first vaccine that protects horses against the bacterial infection leptospirosis is now available.

The first vaccine against leptospirosis approved for use in horses is now available.

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Leptospirosis is caused by several types of Leptospira bacteria. In North America, the organism Leptospira interrogans serovar Pomona, (L. Pomona) is most often associated with disease in horses, causing septicemia0, uveitis0, kidney disease and abortion. The infection is acquired by exposure to water or soil contaminated with the bacteria via the urine of infected horses, cattle or wildlife.

Until now, leptospirosis vaccines were available for dogs and cattle but none were licensed for horses. The new vaccine, called LEPTO EQ INNOVATOR and manufactured by Zoetis, is approved for use in horses 6 months and older. The company’s efficacy studies showed that vaccinated horses exposed to L. Pomona showed no signs of infection.

Vaccination entails an initial shot, followed by a booster three to four weeks later, and annual revaccination thereafter. Safety studies showed no adverse reactions in 99.8 percent of nearly 2,000 vaccinated horses.

You can assess your horse’s risk of contracting leptospirosis with a free, online risk assessment tool at www.leptoeqinnovator.com. For every completed assessment, Zoetis will donate $1, up to $1,000, to A Home for Every Horse, an organization that works to place rescue horses.

This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #460.