Is Your Horse at Risk for Leptospirosis?

LEPTO EQ INNOVATOR® is the first and only vaccine licensed to help prevent leptospirosis caused by L. pomona.

The effects of equine leptospirosis are real – and so are the risks. Be sure you understand this multifaceted disease and the risks your horse may be exposed to. 

Urine from infected animals serves as the primary source of infection for equine leptospirosis. Leptospira bacteria penetrate mucous membranes or exposed skin. Bacteria then enter the bloodstream, replicate and travel to the kidneys, eyes and reproductive tract.1 Infected or carrier horses can shed the bacteria in the urine.2,3 

Horses can become infected with Leptospira when exposed to:

  • Contaminated soil, bedding, feed and drinking water3,4
  • Stagnant or slow-moving water1,2
  • Maintenance hosts such as skunks, white-tailed deer, raccoons and opossums
  •  Aborted or stillborn fetuses or vaginal discharges2,3

The bacteria that cause leptospirosis are found in the environment across the United States. In horses, Leptospira interrogans serovar Pomona, or L. pomona, is the most common pathogen associated with the disease.1 

  • Leptospires are a leading cause of equine recurrent uveitis (ERU).1 It’s estimated that up to 70% of all uveitis cases are associated with leptospires.5,6*
  • Leptospires can cause late-term abortion in mares. A study showed that 13% of bacterial abortions are caused by L. pomona, the most common leptospiralserovar found in horses.1*
  • Leptospires can colonize in the kidneys and the horse can become septicemic, potentially leading to acute renal failure.*

There is an equine vaccine to help prevent leptospirosis. LEPTO EQ INNOVATOR® is the first and only USDA-licensed vaccine to help prevent leptospirosis caused by L. pomona, the most clinically relevant serovar.1* Through safety and efficacy trials, LEPTO EQ INNOVATOR was shown to provide a safe immune response. A study showed vaccinated horses exhibited 0% urinary shedding when challenged with L. pomona.7 Additional field safety studies showed 99.9% of vaccinated horses were reaction-free with no adverse events.8-10


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

1 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.

2 Levett PN. Leptospirosis. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2001;14(2):296-326.

3 Spickler AR, Leedom Larson KR. Leptospirosis. Accessed April 6, 2017.

4 Thomas H. Leptospirosis in horses. Equine Chronicle. January/February 2015. Accessed April 6, 2017. 

5 Polle F, Storey E, Eades S, et al. Role of intraocular Leptospira infections in the pathogenesis of equine recurrent uveitis in the southern United States. J Equine Vet Sci. 2014;34(11-12):1300-1306.

6 Borstel MV, Oey L, Strutzberg-Minder K, Boeve MH, Ohnesorge B. Direkter und indirekter Nachweis von Leptospiren aus Glasköperproben von Pferden mit ERU. Pferdeheilkunde. 2010;2(März/April):219-225.

Data on file, Study Report No. B850R-US-12-011, Zoetis Inc.

8 Data on file, Study Report No. B951R-US-15-092, Zoetis Inc.

9 Data on file, Study Report No. B951R-US-13-046, Zoetis Inc.

10Data on file, Study Report No. B951R-US-13-043, Zoetis Inc.

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