FAQ - Leptospirosis
Is a 3 metre gap between my herd and neighbouring herds necessary?
This is not a requirement for the leptospirosis programmes
I share water courses with other herds – does that prevent my herd from gaining Lepto status?
No, however there is a risk that infection could travel from upstream so, where possible, water courses should not be shared with other herds or flocks. Ideally water should be provided in troughs from a piped supply.
What signs does Leptospirosis cause?
Abortions, stillbirths, the birth of weakly calves, infertility, milk drop and occasionally mastitis are the main signs of leptospirosis. It can also cause infection in humans including meningitis type signs.
How is leptospirosis spread?
Mainly from urine, abortion material and vaginal discharges. Urine can contaminate water courses or pools of water in fields and splashes of urine onto the eyes, nose and mouth can also transmit infection. The greatest risk to people is in the milking parlour from urine splashing.
What do I need to do for the first herd test?
Test all cattle of two years old and older plus any breeding replacements aged 1-2 years old plus any non-homebred animals.
How quickly can my herd gain lepto free status?
The second qualifying test to gain accredited status can be carried out six to 12 months after a clear first qualifying test
I have no idea what my herd’s status is for lepto so can I test a proportion of my herd to start with?
Yes a subsample across different age ranges could be tested initially and if negative the rest could then be tested to complete the first qualifying test.
My herd has passed its first qualifying test – when can I do the second qualifying test?
Six to twelve months later
What testing is required for the second herd test?
The same age range as for the first qualifying test i.e. all cattle of two years old and older plus any breeding replacements aged 1-2 years old.
Once I have gained status for my herd do I need to test every year?
Yes, testing is required on an annual basis
Which cattle do I test for the annual herd test?
To maintain leptospirosis accredited status in a beef herd a statistical proportion of the breeding herd, of one year old and older, from each separately managed group (e.g. cow herd and followers) must be tested according to the figures in the tables in the CHeCS technical document. Breeding bulls must be tested.
To maintain leptospirosis accredited status in a dairy herd quarterly bulk milk testing is required. In addition, a statistical proportion of the breeding herd, of one year old and older, from each separately managed group (e.g. cow herd and followers) must be tested according to the figures in the tables in CHeCS technical document. Breeding bulls must be tested.
To maintain Leptospirosis Monitored Free status: Every 12 months repeat the herd test of all cattle of two years old and older plus any breeding replacements aged 1-2 years old. Any animals previously identified as antibody positive can be excluded.
My cattle are vaccinated against lepto – will this interfere with testing?
Yes, the blood test is unable to differentiate between antibodies produced as a result of vaccination from those produced due to natural infection. We therefore do not recommend blood testing of herds where the cattle have been vaccinated against Lepto.
I have bought-in cattle in my herd and don’t know their vaccination status. Can they be tested for lepto?
Yes bought-in animals need to be blood tested for Lepto if participating in the Lepto programmes. If they test as antibody positive it could either be due to previous vaccination or previous exposure and the advice would be to not add them to the herd due to the risk that they could be infected.
Can I use vaccine to protect animals going to shows?
If participating in the Lepto programmes then vaccination cannot be used. The main risk at shows would be from urine from infected cattle splashing onto the eyes, mouth or nose so try and minimise this risk where possible.
Lepto - Added Animals
What testing is required for bought-in animals?
Quarantine testing is optional for animals sourced direct from Leptospirosis accredited herds.
If cattle are from a non-Leptospirosis accredited herd (or from an accredited herd but purchased through a market) they must be placed in quarantine and tested after a minimum of 28 days (an earlier additional test is advisable either before purchase or early in quarantine period). If they are antibody negative when tested at least 28 days after arrival they can enter herd. However if there are multiple animals in quarantine and a mix of antibody positive and negative results are obtained the positive animals must be removed from herd and negative animals retested after at least a further 28 days. If these animals remain antibody negative they can enter herd.
What testing is required for animals returning from show/sale?
They must be placed in quarantine and tested after a minimum of 28 days. If they are antibody negative when tested they can re-enter the herd. However if there are multiple animals and a mix of antibody positive and negative results are obtained the positive animals must not be returned to the herd. The antibody negative animals must be retested after at least a further 28 days. If they have remained antibody negative they can enter herd.