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Detection of Leptospira interrogans is difficult as a result of intermittent leptospiruria and brief leptospiremia. Hence, diagnosis relies heavily on serologic testing, the reference method of which is the microscopic agglutination test (MAT). In horses, clinical leptospirosis has been associated with abortion, recurrent uveitis, and sporadic cases of hepatic and renal disease. Little information exists on the seroprevalence of antibodies to L. interrogans in equids in the United States; past nationwide studies suggest that the seroprevalence in some areas is as high as 77% (reciprocal titer ≥ 100). We tested sera from 124 apparently healthy horses previously submitted for equine infectious anemia (EIA) serology using MAT for 6 serovars-Bratislava, Canicola, Grippotyphosa, Hardjo, Icterohaemorrhagiae, and Pomona. When using a reciprocal MAT titer cutoff of ≥ 100, 102 of 124 (82%) of the samples were positive for at least one serovar. Seropositivity was significantly associated with increasing age. Query of specimens from clinical cases submitted to the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for MAT since 2010 indicated significantly greater seroprevalence (p = 0.015) of pathogenic serovar Pomona in clinical cases compared to sera submitted from healthy equids for routine EIA testing. Information from our diagnostic laboratory submission forms also suggests a correlation between uveitis or other ophthalmic problems and serovar Pomona.


Anna C Fagre, Christie E Mayo, Kristy L Pabilonia, Gabriele A Landolt. Seroprevalence of Leptospira spp. in Colorado equids and association with clinical disease. Journal of veterinary diagnostic investigation : official publication of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Inc. 2020 Sep;32(5):718-721

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PMID: 32715980

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