Leptospirosis Is A Calf Killer

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Faries Jr, Floron C.
Texas Cooperative Extension Service
Leptospirosis, commonly called “lepto”, is caused by three species and five serovars of bacteria, the genus Leptospira. Infected animals, such as cattle, raccoons, skunks, opossums, rodents, deer, swine and dogs, shed bacteria for many months with urine as they urinate. Survival of the bacteria in the environment is favored by moisture and moderately warm temperature; survival is brief in dry soil or at cold and hot temperatures. Therefore, leptospirosis occurs most commonly during the rainy season in the spring, fall and early winter. Although urine of various wild and domestic animal carriers may be sources of infection, likely exposures to baby calves are from urine of subclinical carrier cows stressed at calving and diseased and convalescent calves. Calving cows may shed the bacteria in urine, especially when the possibility of cattle carriers from prior infections exists in the herd.
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Technical Report
University of Arizona

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