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Objective—To measure antibody titers against Leptospira interrogans in serum and vitreous humor and determine the prevalence of L interrogans in vitreous humor of horses with recurrent uveitis.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—242 horses (270 eyes) with recurrent uveitis undergoing vitrectomy and 39 control horses (54 eyes) without any history or clinical signs of recurrent uveitis undergoing euthanasia or enucleation for unrelated reasons.

Procedure—Serum and vitreous humor were tested for antibodies against 13 serovars of L interrogans. Vitreous humor was submitted for leptospiral culture; isolates were typed to the serogroup level.

ResultsLeptospira interrogans was isolated from vitreous humor from 120/229 (52%) horses (126/252 [50%] eyes) with recurrent uveitis but was not isolated from vitreous humor from 36 eyes of 21 control horses. Duration of recurrent uveitis was ≥ 1 year for 45 of the 120 (38%) horses from which the organism was isolated. Geometric mean antibody titers against L interrogans in the vitreous humor and serum of horses with recurrent uveitis were 1:1,332 and 1:186, respectively. Only 91 of 120 (76%) horses from which the organism was isolated had a 4-fold or greater difference between serum and vitreous humor antibody titers.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that persistent ocular infection with L interrogans is common in horses with recurrent uveitis. A 4- fold increase in vitreous humor versus serum antibody titers may not be a sensitive test for the diagnosis of L interrogans-induced recurrent uveitis. We hypothesize that the immune component of recurrent uveitis can be directly induced and maintained by persistent infection of the eye with L interrogans. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:795–800)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association