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geewillikers 10-10-2008 12:03 AM

Leptospirosis. I'm so scared.
Wednesday night Willy was brought in from pasture. His eye was swollen shut, and oozing goop. I had spent time with him on Tuesday and he looked totally normal and healthy.

Vet came out today (Thursday). He drew blood for a Leptospirosis test. This bacteria is found in rodent urine, and horses contract it from eating hay that has rodent urine on it, or drinking out of ponds that other wildlife share. Since Willy lives on a huge ranch, his main turnout (as I've said before) is 300 acres in the mountains. There are several water holes the horses share. Other animals are definitely out there.

He has started treatment for the eye, but the tests don't come back until next week (blood has to be sent to UC Davis). I'm so scared. Since I caught it so early and he's started treatment, if the tests DO come back positive, he has a good chance of keeping his eye sight. This bacteria can be pretty brutal.

There is a vaccine for dogs and cattle for Lepto. My dogs are vaccinated. There isn't a vaccine for horses.

Oh, I hope he doesn't have it, but I wouldn't be surprised given his free roam lifestyle. I want my guy to be healthy and safe. As I'm sure you can all relate, he is my anchor, my teacher, and my love.

Does anyone know anything more about this bacteria?? Any experiences with it??

Thanks for reading...I hope my guy gets well soon, and his tests are negative.

KANSAS_TWISTER 10-10-2008 12:18 AM

years ago i volenteerd at a rescue called moewouf (sp) as in meow and wouf, i don't know how far i can go in it but it was pretty bad in the end ( over 300 animals uthinized because of lepto's) but...this was due to the lac of care to the building and it's cought it in time wish is good!!! have you gogle it at all or tried to contact...k.e.r or guelph uni in canada?, they have a great equine research dept.

appylover31803 10-10-2008 12:26 AM

I did a quick google search.
I found this one article, and what I read, i'm hoping will reassure you
Leptospirosis in animals - symptoms and outcomes

Horses (plus related species)

Horse infection can occur, but is rarer than in other livestock. Symptoms are usually mild and non-specific, so diagnosis is probably often missed and this could be the casue of the very low incidence figures. Again, unborn fetuses may be aborted and newborn foals may show acute illness, sometimes fatal. One strange aspect of horse infection is that several months after the acute infection there can be a secondary eye illness (perhaps in up to 50% of cases) called periodic opthalmia (iridocyclitis) - commonly called 'moon blindness'. It can spontaneously improve or lead to permanent loss of sight. More information on this condition can be found HERE.
There is currently no vaccine for horses, though they are being developed in the US and elsewhere. Use of cattle vaccines on horses (off-label use) is known to happen but is unsafe and potentially illegal in some countries.

geewillikers 10-10-2008 09:11 AM

Thanks for the info. I've been doing some research myself, and the vet didn't come off like it was a serious thing....but yet, he's a pretty dry guy....and knowing that Willy may lose his sight is killing me.

6 am, off to do the first treatment of the day. So glad I have friends up there that can help with his treatments because he needs stuff put in his eye 4X a day!!!

I'll keep you updated, thanks

appylover31803 10-10-2008 11:53 AM

I wish Willy a speedy recovery!
It's great that you caught it so early :)

geewillikers 10-10-2008 12:24 PM

Thank you for your wishes Appy!

missy06 10-10-2008 01:11 PM

I can only imagine how scary this is; you both are in my thoughts!

geewillikers 10-10-2008 10:21 PM

Thank you so much Missy, Appy, and Dumas...

So, tonight I went up to the barn and found Willy standing in his stall (he has to be out of the sun in case he does have Lepto), and his eye was almost completely back to normal!! About 90%, I'd say. I was so happy to see him looking better! We took a walk out to pasture so he could see all his friends and graze a little while on the lead rope. He was so bummed to come back in! I treated his eye, and gave him a dose of Banamine for pain (oh, he hates the taste of that stuff! I think it's worse than wormer), but I know he'll be thanking me later.

I feel better just knowing that Willy's eye is better and he's not in pain. I'm told (if he does have Lepto)the chances of him losing sight in that eye is slim because we started treatment immediately. Phew! I guess the tests will tell all....the treatment for Lepto is 21 days of oral paste twice a day. = $450. Ugh.

booner 10-10-2008 10:56 PM

Oh so glad his eye is looking better!:D

Peggysue 10-11-2008 12:07 AM

Invest in a good fly mask that has UV protection!!

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