Leptospirosis on your lifestyle block

Leptospirosis or ‘lepto’ is a serious disease caused by several strains of a spiral-shaped bacteria.

People and animals can be infected through any mucous membranes (mouth, eyes, nose) or damaged skin. The bacteria are released in the urine of infected animals and can survive in fresh water (puddles and rivers) for long periods.

Cows that have been infected with lepto may not show any signs of disease and can become carriers that shed the bacteria in their urine. Humans and dogs can become very unwell from leptospirosis infections with potentially permanent liver and kidney damage.

In the past we have recommended 7in1 vaccine for sheep and cows which protects against 5 clostridial diseases and 2 strains of lepto. Recently, a vaccine that protects against 4 strains of lepto has become available for cows – Lepto 4-way. We now recommend using a combination of Lepto 4-way and 5in1 to provide the best protection against clostridial diseases and leptospirosis in your cows and calves. Regardless of the vaccine used it is very important to vaccinate young stock as once animals have been infected vaccinating afterwards won’t stop lepto being spread in their urine.

Lepto 4-way can be given to calves from four weeks of age with two doses needed four to six weeks apart for the initial course and then annual boosters. Lepto 4-way is currently only available for cattle, so we still recommend the 7in1 vaccine for your other animals.