Equine Leptospirosis affecting eyes

I don’t want to hijack the eye allergy threads, nor do I want this subject buried in case it might help with an eye allergy that isn’t:)

This in part from another a lady who is dealing with EL in her mare’s eyes - both eyes.

Not a lot is known but this horse had been rescued out of a major flood in Texas. It seems horses who have been in flood waters may be a risk for the disease, even some years down the road.

“——Horse is having a flare up of the Lepto. Unfortunately, most vets don’t know a whole lot about it in horses. The one we’re using down here in our new area has never seen it in horses and he’s been in practice for a very long time. The good news is, he’s one of those great older vets ——-“

Hopefully this may help someone who is dealing with mystery eye issues that have your professionals stumped:)

I disagree, any vet worth their salt should know about lepto. Especially since it can cause recurrent uveitis and even abortion in mares. If your friend’s horse has it bilaterally (both eyes) and goes through flare-ups, it is most likely ERU, brought on by the lepto infection. I would suggest they ask their vet about ERU (also called moon blindness). It’s a very painful disease, and while there is no cure, it can be managed with both/either steroidal anti-inflammatory meds and non-steroidal meds. A good vet can suggest a treatment program.

I eventually lost my beloved horse Rush after years of dealing with ERU, and it’s not something I would blow off as a horse owner and just say “well, it’s flaring up again. Oh well.”


IME, vets do know about Lepto and its symptoms, but what they don’t know much about is how a lot of horses get it. Mine likely had (has?) lepto, which caused ERU, which cost him the sight in his eye. There is literally nothing about our property which predisposes anyone to lepto, and he’s been here for 17-ish years, and was not far from me for quite a few years before then.

He still has the eye, it’s not painful, at least not with 1/2gm bute daily

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Lepto in horses can cause one kind of uveitis. It is the most common recurring kind in Europe, I have read that it is almost all cases in Germany but I don’t know if that’s true or how frequent it is in the USA (where the most common kind of uveitis is different I believe). Unfortunately the treatment is lavage of the eyeball, which is a surgery.

Lepto can also cause a very bad kind of cellulitis with channels under the skin in the legs. That is more easily treated than in the eye.

Someone I know had a horse contract Lepto due to exposure to a cow that had it. That was the vets diagnosis.

The young horse was going blind because of it. Very sad.

Where did the information about lepto causing cellulitis in horses come from?

A vet after a flood that washed farm animal manure around. He was very serious and we all took it ot heart but I’ve never actually verified so maybe it’s not true?. This was in Europe, and in the area lepto was common enough that all dogs were routinely vaccinated against it. Lots of cows, not a few pigs as well.

Pythiosis is fairly common in horses standing around long enough in flood water, and that can cause cellulitis, among other things.