Zoetis Introduces First-Ever Licensed Equine Leptospirosis Vaccine

LEPTO EQ INNOVATOR® developed specifically for horses to help prevent leptospirosis caused by Leptospira interrogans serovar Pomona.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Zoetis

Leptospira bacteria enter a horse through the eyes, mouth, or skin abrasions. AQHA photo

This fall, Zoetis introduced LEPTO EQ INNOVATOR®, the first and only vaccine licensed in horses, 6 months of age or older, to aid in the prevention of leptospirosis caused by Leptospira pomona (L. pomona), a disease that poses devastating health risks to horses and can require costly treatments by horse owners.

Equine leptospirosis is an infectious bacterial disease caused by spirochetes belonging to Leptospira species. A recent study supported by Zoetis showed that 75 percent of healthy horses have been exposed to at least one leptospiral serovar.1 As clinical signs associated with leptospirosis are general, disease in horses likely occurs more frequently than is diagnosed, and exposure to Leptospira is more prevalent than was previously understood.

Leptospira interrogans serovar Pomona is the serovar most often associated with Leptospira infections in horses in North America.2 L. pomona can colonize in the kidney, be shed in the urine and cause horses to become septicemic.1 The bacteria is then circulated in the blood and can cause uveitis, or moon blindness (the most common cause of blindness in horses), as well as abortions and kidney failure.

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Horses can contract leptospirosis from standing or slow-moving water contaminated by Leptospira-infected urine, contaminated soil, bedding, feed and drinking water as well as infected cattle or dogs.2,3 Common maintenance hosts — including skunks, raccoons, white-tailed deer and opossums — become infected with L. pomona, which can shed into shared environments and infect horses. After penetrating through mucous membranes or skin abrasions, leptospires can concentrate in the kidneys and can cause devastating clinical disease.

“Until now, options have been limited for horse owners working to help prevent leptospirosis,” says Dr. Jacquelin Boggs, senior veterinarian, Equine Technical Services at Zoetis. “In response to the equine industry’s requests for a vaccine, Zoetis developed LEPTO EQ INNOVATOR.”

LEPTO EQ INNOVATOR was created specifically for the equine industry to help protect horses from the most clinically relevant serovar, L. pomona.2 LEPTO EQ INNOVATOR helps prevent leptospiremia caused by L. pomona, which could, but has not been demonstrated to, help reduce the potential risk of equine recurrent uveitis, abortions or acute renal failure caused by L. pomona.*

The vaccine has been demonstrated safe for use in healthy foals 3 months of age or older and pregnant mares in the second trimester and has been field-tested in hundreds of horses.4,5 In field safety studies with the administration of 1,808 vaccine doses, 99.8 percent of the horses remained reaction-free. A reaction rate of 0.002 percent demonstrates the vaccine’s safety.4,5

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LEPTO EQ INNOVATOR is backed by superior Zoetis product support and education based on science, helping provide confidence for those recommending and providing this newly released vaccine. Zoetis continually invests in research and development to bring advanced vaccine solutions. The addition of LEPTO EQ INNOVATOR enriches the broad portfolio of core and risk-based vaccines from Zoetis.

For additional information on LEPTO EQ INNOVATOR and to evaluate your horse’s risk level, visit and take the Leptospirosis Risk Assessment. You can discuss your assessment results with your veterinarian and determine if vaccination with LEPTO EQ INNOVATOR is needed.

*Currently, there are no vaccines available with USDA-licensed label claims against equine abortions, recurrent uveitis or acute renal failure caused by L. pomona.

1 Data on file, Study Report No. Restricted Grant-FTLEPTO13 (v1.0) TI-01366, Zoetis Inc.
2 Divers TJ, Chang Y-F. Leptospirosis. In: Robinson NE, Sprayberry KA, eds. Current Therapy in Equine Medicine. Vol 6. 6th ed. St. Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier;2009:145-147.
3 Levett PN. Leptospirosis. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2001;14(2):296-326.
4 Data on file, Study Report No. B951R-US-13-046, Zoetis Inc.
5 Data on file, Study Report No. B951R-US-13-043, Zoetis Inc.
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