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Testing Methods and Samples Required

Disease Test Method Animal Species Samples tested Accreditation status


The detection of antibodies directed against Leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo


Serum, Milk


Two common strains of Leptospirosis in Ireland are – Leptospira interrogans hardjo and Leptospira borgpetersenii hardjo.

Complete eradication of Leptospirosis can be difficult as it is common for cattle to become carriers. Cattle that carry the bacteria are highly infectious as they can pass on the disease through urine shedding.

Leptospirosis can survive adverse environments. It is known to survive for up to 6 weeks in damp soil, water and streams.

The clinical signs of Leptospirosis infections are as follows:

  • Milk drop – one of the first symptoms in cows is a large and sudden decrease in milk yield.
  • Abortion – abortion occurs generally 6 to 12 weeks post infection. Blood samples taken from the cow allow for diagnosis of leptospirosis as the antibodies found in the blood sample or bacteria found in the foetus can highlight the state of infection
  • Infertility – culling is increased in herds infected due to decreased pregnancy rates
  • Calf weakness and increased morbidity rates – if pregnant cows are infected late into pregnancy the calves born are generally weak that die within several hours