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Horse Care: Leptospirosis Prevention
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Horse Care: Leptospirosis Prevention

Normally, horse owners and enthusiasts seek veterinary care because their horse is sick or not moving well as he/she used to. They notice some signs and weird behavior about their horses.

But some horses, like those infected with the lethal leptospirosis disease, could appear completely normal. Today, we discuss more about leptospirosis and also provide some tips on how to prevent the spread of the leptospirosis infection. 

For starters, leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can result in eyesight loss, chronic uveitis, and even kidney failure in horses. It can infect not just horse but also pets and even livestock. It’s the most common zoonotic disease worldwide, according to the latest research works.

The disease is caused by spiral-shaped bacteria called leptospires that enter the horse’s body through areas such as broken skin, genitals, anus, eyes, lips, nostrils and stomach.

Clinical signs

1. Loss of appetite

2. Jaundice

3. Chronic uveitis

4. Low fever

5. Depression and anemia

6. Birth of unthrifty foals with limited life expectancy

Fortunately, we can prevent the spread of this disease to our horse by establishing good horse care management practices and using effective vaccination programme. All we need to do is to start the treatment immediately before the infection damages the eyes and organs of our horses. We can protect the rest of the herd by isolating infected horses from the rest of the herd and treating them with preventive antibiotics.

Tips on how to prevent the spread of the disease

1. First, you need to prevent your horse from drinking standing water (such as ponds and floodwaters) that could be contaminated with urine. Exposure to standing water can be the biggest risk factor for leptospirosis infection, according to experts.

2. Another one is to administer a regular preventive antibiotic treatment for horses, especially if nearby horses are infected.

3. Quarantine is also another effective measure. We need to quarantine and test horses new to our herd.

4. We also need to control rodents and wildlife animals around our horses’ living areas because these animals can also be a carrier of the disease. In addition to rodents and other wildlife animals, amphibians and reptiles can also be infected with and pass on the disease-causing bacteria.

5. Finally, we need to vaccinate high-risk horses, more importantly, the pregnant mares.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons

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