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Leptospira, MAT - Equigerminal

Leptospira MAT

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Pathogen test

The microscopic agglutination test (MAT) is the reference test method for the serodiagnosis of leptospirosis both in humans and in animals (World Health Organization (WHO), 2003; World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE, 2008). This test detects antibodies to specific serovars using live leptospiral antigens, and can be performed on serum from any species.


5 mL - blood - serum tube

Turnaround time

2 to 5 working days

What is Leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can result in abortion, chronic uveitis, and/or kidney failure in horses and can also infect humans, pets, and other livestock.

Clinical signs

Some horses with leptospirosis appear completely normal. Others might show generalised flulike signs.
More serious cases present as mid- to late-term abortions, chronic uveitis (an eye disease that’s the leading cause of blindness in horses), or renal (kidney) disease.
Foals from infected dams born alive might suffer from malnutrition, jaundice, pulmonary haemorrhage, or severe respiratory distress—all of which can be fatal. If you can start treatment immediately—before the infection damages eyes or organs—horses with leptospirosis generally have good prognoses. And, you can protect the rest of your herd (and yourself and other animals) by isolating infected horses, treating your other horses with preventive antibiotics or, depending on the species involved, vaccinating.


Leptospirosis is caused by spiral-shaped bacteria called spirochetes, specifically leptospires, that enter an animal’s body through mucous membranes in areas such as the nostrils, lips, eyes, trachea, stomach, genitals, or anus, or through broken skin. In addition to mammals (horses, humans, squirrels, voles, and scores more), amphibians (such as frogs) and reptiles (including snakes) can become infected with and pass on the disease-causing bacteria. In horses, foals can become infected in utero.
Leptospires most commonly live and multiply in the renal tubules (where urine collects in the kidneys) of reservoir or carrier hosts such as rodents, wildlife, and domestic animals. In addition to spreading in urine, leptospires can be transmitted via infected blood or tissues or by infected urine splashing into eyes or the mouth.
When an infected reservoir host urinates, the leptospires pass out of its body in the urine and contaminate the surrounding ground and/or water. In fact, exposure to standing water, such as ponds or floodwaters, is the biggest risk factor for leptospirosis infection. Occasionally, says Carter, animals (horses, livestock, etc.) inhale leptospires, ingest them with feed, or transmit them via wounds or bites.


Humans who work with animals or have frequent exposure to them are at a higher risk of contracting leptospirosis.
The leptospirosis is now classified as a re-emerging disease. Worldwide, the incidence is increasing, which may be due to increased episodes of flooding. According to the CDC, most human leptospirosis symptoms are flulike and include: high fever; headache; chills; muscle aches; vomiting; jaundice (yellow skin and eyes); red eyes; and abdominal pain.
Treatment is fairly straightforward. The emphasis now is on rapid diagnostics so the disease can be diagnosed quickly and treatment started.
Prevention is characterised differently for different risk groups. For occupational exposure (for example, veterinarians and animal caretakers that might be exposed to the disease), appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment, including protective gloves and glasses) is important. For recreational exposure, preventing contact of mucous membranes and broken skin with contaminated water is advised.