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Leptospirosis: A Hidden Threat

Dogs can get it. Cattle can get it. Cats can get it. Pigs can get it. And horses get it, too. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic bacterial infection that can attack many species. In fact, it is carried by many wild animals that pass it on to others. It has several variations (known as serovars) and each can affect animals differently. And, yes, it can be passed along to humans as well. In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases, such as fever, headache and vomiting. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all. Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress and even death. How widespread is equine leptospirosis in Canada? Some research has suggested that 75 per cent of horses in…

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