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Is there an equine leptosperosis vaccine? And other rat-related ?'s

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  • Is there an equine leptosperosis vaccine? And other rat-related ?'s

    I know there's a canine leptosperosis vaccine, but I'm wondering if there is an equine version. Of course, I will call my vet but I figured I'd ask here first before I bother him.

    The reason I'm asking is that my barn has recently started having a major rat problem. When I moved there in August, there were *none*, but it has been slowly getting worse. Over the past few weeks, whenever I check my horse's feed bin there is usually rat poop in there. Of course, I clean/bleach it on a daily basis since then, but I'm still worried about possible leptosperosis (and of course other diseases). I have a friend whose dad died from leptosperosis after eating fruit infected with either rat poop or pee, so I'm a bit sensitive about the issue.

    I have told the caretaker repetaedly about the problem, and I know she has told the BO. A few months ago the BO put some rat poison out and it did kill one rat that I know of, but it did not kill them all, as I have seen them consistently. Recently, for a while nothing was done because the BO was very sick (he's an older guy) and the caretaker unfortunately doesn't have much authority to make decisions about stuff, especially if it involves spending money. But he just put more poison down last week. The caretaker says she has seen one dead rat since then, but I still see live ones and there is still rat poop in my horse's feed bin just about every day.

    A while ago I had heard about rat traps that are like a little electrocution chamber, and I looked them up and found one here. I told the caretaker to please let the BO know that I am more than willing to order one if she (caretaker) will help me by checking it/disposing of dead rats every day, which she is willing to do (I would also check it in the evenings) and I will take the $$ out of my next board check. But the BO says it's too expensive and if I want to do that, it will be on my dime.

    But doesn't the BO have *some* responsibility to take care of this problem? What if my horse does get sick, despite the fact that I have repeatedly brought up the fact that what they are doing is not working? I also worry about the poison--there are dogs out @ the barn, plus last time the poison was put out one of the dying rats ended up in one of the horse's water buckets. Not good.

    I might just end up buying the electrocution trap myself, but it will definitely annoy me if I have to pay for it. Of course, my horse's health and well-being are more than worth it, but I feel that this is something the BO should pay for. I am currently the only boarder, but the BO has 4 horses and the caretaker has one (plus we might be getting a few more boarders soon), so it's not like my horse is the only one at risk here.

    Sorry for the novel! I know it was mostly just a rant, but I really would like to know if anyone knows about the possibility of a vaccine, anyone who has experience with the electrocution traps, etc. Thanks!
    Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!

  • #2
    There is currently not a horse vaccine on the market, although there are vets working on developing one. We have tons of lepto around where I'm from, and the vet I work for at home has used the vaccine made for cattle on horses very successfully with few side effects. I would definitely talk to your vet about using the cattle vaccine since there are so many rats in your barn, lepto can cause devastating uveitis that often ends in blindness, as well as abortion in pregnant mares.


    • #3
      Don't know about a vaccine, but my experience with the electrocution things is that the rat ones will kill mice, but not rats. Then we tried this giant snap, jaws of death thing and it disappeared the first night.
      The Evil Chem Prof


      • #4
        Not only do you have to worry about rats and mice, deer also can spread lepto through their urine as well.

        If there were a lepto vaccine, my vet would give it to my horses. We have more deer than mice around here. And lepto can cause ERU as well as causing death.

        I want to know why horses don't get the vaccine since there's been a vaccine for dogs for decades. Although I'm told there are more than a few strains of lepto that dogs can get. (And why don't we have a vaccine for EIA?)


        • #5
          My trainer has a horse that contracted Lepto, has gone through the cyclosporine implants and still has minor flare ups... It's pretty disheartening as this mare is soo talented and now she's basically "grounded" from showing because my trainer does not want to go through all the fuss of entering as event only to have the mare flare before it and have to scratch.

          I inquired about the bovine vaccine with my vet. She does NOT recommend it lightly. Pretty serious side effects, "pretty rough on the horse and not guaranteed protection." A client of my trainer's also had a mare contract Lepto and they decided to vaccinate their gelding, blew up like a parade float! Very scary for a few days, but he did make a full recovery.


          • #6
            I don't have an answer for you on the lepto.

            I had a rat problem in the old barn I use as a chicken coop and hay storage, among other things. I bought some rat zappers because I do not use poison.

            Those suckers are great. You will need to change the batteries out eventually but it blinks to tell you when they are running low. If you have a real problem with rats then you'll need more than one rat zapper.

            Rat problem. Solved.
            Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
            Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
            -Rudyard Kipling


            • #7
              In the meantime can you try feeding in a rubber tub on the ground that just gets removed and flipped over after meals?


              • #8
                I've dealt with lepto and ERU. As far as I know (I'm not current), there are cattle vaccines, but not one specifically for horses.

                There are many strains of lepto, and the cattle vaccines sometimes don't cover the ones which horses are more prone to get.

                Also, you may run the risk of triggering ERU by administering the vaccine. I gave cattle vaccine to two of my horses many years ago, and both had major site reactions (couldn't move their neck for several days).
                My Equestrian Art Photography page


                • #9
                  Sounds like you have three options. Continue to risk your horse picking up an infection, paying for the trap yourself or moving.


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                    Sounds like you have three options. Continue to risk your horse picking up an infection, paying for the trap yourself or moving.
                    You're absolutely right, and I've been thinking I would have to buy one of the traps myself. I'm frustrated/angry that my BO won't buy it, and I certainly don't think I should have to take care of the rat problem myself since I'm a paying boarder, but that's really my only option. My horse has to have a stall w/attached paddock or he weaves like crazy, so moving really isn't an option because that set-up is very hard to find.

                    Thanks to everyone for your replies. It sounds like the cattle vaccine isn't the best bet, as I certainly don't want to risk the possible side effects. Hopefully they will develop an equine version sometime soon. In the meantime, I'll just suck it up and buy one of the electrocution chambers myself.
                    Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!


                    • #11
                      Don't know about lepto but when we get rats in the barn we take the 22 with rat shot in it and shoot them. We go down late when the horses are out and those boogers will be running around so when can get them. Not ideal for your situation but a friend uses the sticky traps and it works great and they are cheap. Usually it's mice so not sure how for rats it would do.

                      We started shooting them because the little nasty things would eat anything out of the traps and never get caught. We were just fatting them up more. Even peanut butter would be gone but no rat. Used all sizes of traps with no avail. So we did what we had to.
                      Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                      • #12
                        We use the feed tubs on the floor only during feeding time, then take them out and store them upside down.... Can you do that?

                        Doh HIghflyer said same thing


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by NRB View Post
                          We use the feed tubs on the floor only during feeding time, then take them out and store them upside down.... Can you do that?

                          Doh HIghflyer said same thing
                          I do actually give my guy a third meal every night before I leave, and I put that in a rubber feed tub. But that's a mash, which my horse will eat politely, but if you put his regular feed in the rubber feed tub, he will paw/nose it and flip the grain all over the place. Also, the caretaker is pretty busy and I'm not sure she would have the time to go out after he's finished & flip the tub over.

                          I do appreciate the suggestion, though!

                          Looks like I will be ordering a trap and grumbling about the unfairness of it all. In the meantime, I will clean/bleach my horse's feed bin every night. It sucks, but it looks like my only feasible option.
                          Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!