leptospirosis, antibiotics, and bees.
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Sparks, MD, USA
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    22

    Default leptospirosis, antibiotics, and bees.

    My horse has tested positive for lepto. and is currently being treated with minocycline (antibiotic). Lepto. is a spirochete transmitted via urine of wild animals. Apparently more common in horses than people realize. Lepto. is transmittable to all mammals - dogs / cattle are vaccinated for it - can be transmitted to humans. Think keeping your dogs from drinking from puddles and this is why.

    In the past, I have noticed my honey bees around urine spots from my horse - I would assume for minerals contained in the urine. I don't recall what part of the season I have seen them around the spots in the pen/field. It may be more during the dearth of the summer, but I can't say for sure.

    So here are my questions...


    My horse is going to be on the antibiotics for at least another month, possibly two. Can the bees transmit the spirochetes to the honey? I am not sure when they will be out of his system. He had been on the minocycline for 30 days before even being tested for the lepto. and he still came back a strong positive for 2 types of the disease. And, is there a problem with baby bees and the antibiotics that may be in his urine when the bees start flying this spring?

    Thank you.

    Jen
    Maryland
    Jen
    Sparks, MD

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
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    1,649

    Default Re: leptospirosis, antibiotics, and bees.

    I would check with vet to see what concentrations are normally found in urine, I would think there should a formulation (dosage/weight of animal).
    I googled the antibiotic and one thing stood out is "Minocycline is a member of the tetracycline family of antibiotics", which is what you use for foulbrood.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Merced County, CA, USA
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    33

    Default Re: leptospirosis, antibiotics, and bees.

    I have a microbiology background, so I might be able to help.

    Lepto won't survive in honey. All the sugar basically dehydrates bacterial cells. American Foulbrood and Botulism can, but only in the incredibly tough spore stage, which Lepto doesn't have.

    Bees don't spread it, the infectious bacteria doesn't grow in them

    The horse might not even be shedding in the urine now, only some animals shed long-term. The standard test you had measures antibodies, not bacteria. If you're really worried, get a urine PCR which detects bacteria in the urine.

    Guarantee ya though, if the horse got it on your property, the pond or other water source has the bacteria in it, and there will be plenty of other hosts, rodents, canines, a lot of different mammals. Your neighbor's pond will have it too. Thing is, Lepto is found in standing water, cases will spike after a hurricane for example. Be careful handling the water or soil, or animals, but your horse isn't even the main problem. Maybe you could check your well for coliforms too.

    The disease isn't found that commonly in humans, and a lot of cases are so mild they aren't picked up.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Chardon, Ohio
    Posts
    689

    Default Re: leptospirosis, antibiotics, and bees.

    Just do a google scholar search on "minocycline metabolism" and get real information rather than ask a bunch of people most of whom have no expertise. The chemical is a bacteriostat which means it does not kill the spirochetes it just stops them from multiplying allowing the immune system time to mop up and finish the disease off. Lots of antibiotics do that. But, if it has not cured in a month a different drug probably should be considered as it does not seem to be working. There are lots of drug choices.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Vernon, AZ. USA
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    627

    Default Re: leptospirosis, antibiotics, and bees.

    Leptosporosis is common in rabbits. Years ago we were cautioned to be careful preparing wild rabbit meat. Also, dogs can catch some strains, not included in canine Lepto vaccine. Humans usually get over it, usually no severe symtoms, not knowing what it was. WE are seldom tested, unlike our pets.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    5,536

    Default Re: leptospirosis, antibiotics, and bees.

    The same question was asked just this morning, and IIRC from MD, too, Must be something nasty going around there.

    When I first read the other question I guessed the horse's infection was Lyme disease, which in my area in northern NY, infects horses which can become chronically ill and need antibiotics for ages. One of my neighbors is struggling with this in one of her horses.

    On my own farm anaplasmosis is the main infectious disease at the moment.

    Enj.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sparks, MD, USA
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    22

    Default Re: leptospirosis, antibiotics, and bees.

    Thank you.

    We have had a lot of rain this fall/winter and I am concerned about the rest of the property / animals. The dogs are vaccinated, but I have a 23 week old puppy who was in the horse pen prior to diagnosis. She has had her shots, but we have a vet appt. tomorrow for a check up and I will mention the situation to the vet.

    I also have a call into the equine vet to discuss the shedding issue. When the vet called with the diagnosis, she said to be careful around his urine so testing might be a good idea.

    I do appreciate your response.

    Jen

    Quote Originally Posted by Snaggy View Post
    I have a microbiology background, so I might be able to help.

    Lepto won't survive in honey. All the sugar basically dehydrates bacterial cells. American Foulbrood and Botulism can, but only in the incredibly tough spore stage, which Lepto doesn't have.

    Bees don't spread it, the infectious bacteria doesn't grow in them

    The horse might not even be shedding in the urine now, only some animals shed long-term. The standard test you had measures antibodies, not bacteria. If you're really worried, get a urine PCR which detects bacteria in the urine.

    Guarantee ya though, if the horse got it on your property, the pond or other water source has the bacteria in it, and there will be plenty of other hosts, rodents, canines, a lot of different mammals. Your neighbor's pond will have it too. Thing is, Lepto is found in standing water, cases will spike after a hurricane for example. Be careful handling the water or soil, or animals, but your horse isn't even the main problem. Maybe you could check your well for coliforms too.

    The disease isn't found that commonly in humans, and a lot of cases are so mild they aren't picked up.
    Jen
    Sparks, MD

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sparks, MD, USA
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    22

    Default Re: leptospirosis, antibiotics, and bees.

    There has been a rabbit hanging out near his pen this whole winter.

    Jen

    Quote Originally Posted by jadebees View Post
    Leptosporosis is common in rabbits.
    Jen
    Sparks, MD

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sparks, MD, USA
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    Default Re: leptospirosis, antibiotics, and bees.

    Might have been posted by my friend in Southern MD. I had spoken with him earlier and he had suggested posting here. I wonder if he posted as well.

    My horse became ill several weeks ago and we did all of the normal bloodwork - testing for lymes (as he has had it before), and anaplasmosis. We actually figured this was the cause of his fever spike and then general malaise. He seemed to "feel" better when he was on the antibiotics prompting us to look further. When his tick titer tests came back neg. and he still was not "normal" she mentioned "lepto".

    Lymes is nasty - it has messed my horse's entire system up. It can affect so many things that around here lymes is the first "go to" when a horse changes behaviors or has a medical situation. I hope your neighbor's horse can get back on track health wise - my horse doesn't have it, but the case he had a few years ago has dramatically altered his health stability.

    Jen

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    The same question was asked just this morning, and IIRC from MD, too, Must be something nasty going around there.

    When I first read the other question I guessed the horse's infection was Lyme disease, which in my area in northern NY, infects horses which can become chronically ill and need antibiotics for ages. One of my neighbors is struggling with this in one of her horses.

    On my own farm anaplasmosis is the main infectious disease at the moment.

    Enj.
    Jen
    Sparks, MD

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sparks, MD, USA
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: leptospirosis, antibiotics, and bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cryberg View Post
    Just do a google scholar search on "minocycline metabolism" and get real information rather than ask a bunch of people most of whom have no expertise. The chemical is a bacteriostat which means it does not kill the spirochetes it just stops them from multiplying allowing the immune system time to mop up and finish the disease off. Lots of antibiotics do that. But, if it has not cured in a month a different drug probably should be considered as it does not seem to be working. There are lots of drug choices.
    Thank you. I agree.

    Jen
    Jen
    Sparks, MD

  12. #11
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    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sparks, MD, USA
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    Default Re: leptospirosis, antibiotics, and bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by rwlaw View Post
    I would check with vet to see what concentrations are normally found in urine, I would think there should a formulation (dosage/weight of animal).
    I googled the antibiotic and one thing stood out is "Minocycline is a member of the tetracycline family of antibiotics", which is what you use for foulbrood.
    Thank you. Waiting to hear back from the vet about testing the urine.

    Jen
    Jen
    Sparks, MD

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