Zoetis announced the introduction of an exciting new vaccine this week. Lepto EQ Innovator is the first and only vaccine licensed for use in horses to aid in the prevention of leptospirosis caused by Leptospira interrogans serovar Pomona, known as L. pomona.
Equine leptospirosis is an infectious bacterial disease caused by members of the Leptospira species of bacteria. Leptospira interrogans serovar Pomona, known as L. pomona, is the serovar most often associated with equine leptospirosis infections in North America. Horses can become infected from standing or slow moving water, soil, bedding, feed and drinking water that has been contaminated with L. pomona by common maintenance hosts, including skunks, raccoons, white-tailed deer and opossums.
After penetrating the mucus membranes, L. pomona can colonize in the kidneys, and is circulated in the blood. Its effects are devastating; the disease can cause uveitis, or moon blindness, which is the most common cause of blindness in horses, as well as abortions and kidney failure.
Recent studies of the disease have shown that exposure to the bacteria is high; 75% of healthy horses have been exposed to at least one leptospiral serovar. Non-specific clinical signs and symptoms means the disease likely occurs more frequently in horses than is diagnosed, and exposure to Leptospira may be more prevalent than was previously understood.
“Until this vaccine, preventive options against leptospirosis have been limited in horses,” said Jacquelin Boggs, DVM, MS, ACVIM, senior veterinarian, Equine Technical Services at Zoetis. “Leptospirosis is a disease that can cause devastating health risks to horses and can require costly treatment. In response to the equine industry’s requests for a vaccine, Zoetis developed Lepto Eq Innovator to better equip veterinarians with the tools they need to help ensure the health and well-being of their horses.”
Lepto Eq Innovator has been shown to be clinically safe for use in foals three months of age or older and healthy pregnant mares in the second trimester. The vaccine has been field tested in more than 1,800 horses.