Minimizing Exposure Key To Preventing Equine Leptospirosis

by | 06.01.2017 | 8:09am

Equine leptospirosis can cause serious health issues in horses, including chronic uveitis (moon blindness) and abortion in pregnant mares. A zoonotic bacterial disease found worldwide, leptospirosis can affect any mammal. It is caused by a bacteria and horses become infected through mucous membranes or through a cut that has been exposed to infected urine, blood or tissues.

The key to preventing horses from contracting leptospirosis is minimizing exposure. Water sources available to horses can be contaminated with Leptospira found in the infected urine from pigs, rodents, cattle and wildlife. Keeping horses away from water sources that are shared by these animal, as well as away from water that is stagnant, can help prevent the spread of the disease. Periods of intense rainfall can increase the risk of exposure, so moving horses to higher ground until pooled water has receded is recommended.

If a mare has aborted, she should be isolated from other horses for 14 to 16 weeks and her urine should be tested periodically to determine when she is no longer shedding leptospirosis bacteria. Tissue can infect large portions of soil, potentially infecting horses exposed to it. If possible, the ground should be disinfected as well as possible to limit wildlife exposure to the site, which would then spread the bacteria.

Leptospirosis vaccination for pregnant mares has recently become an option; studies show that up to 13 percent of bacterial abortions in mares are the result of leptospirosis. Studies done during all trimesters of pregnancy have not shown any reaction to the vaccine.

Read more at Stable Management.

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