elkeHi, my name is Elke Erregger, I am the new University of Melbourne dairy cattle resident at Warrnambool Veterinary. I qualified as a Veterinarian in Vienna in 2005 and have worked in large animal practice in Austria, the UK, and since 2015 in Australia). I’ve met a few of you already and really enjoy working with you in the south west of Victoria.

My research project, which is a component of my University of Melbourne residency, is in establishing the prevalence of Leptospirosis in SW Victoria.

Leptospirosis is a disease that can be transmitted from cows to humans and hence is a risk to farmers and farm workers. You will shortly receive an invitation via Australia Post to take part in my research project. I am looking for herds that are pregnancy testing and that are either vaccinating or NOT vaccinating for leptospirosis.

A short survey will be conducted to gain some general information and after late pregnancy testing urine samples will be collected from non-pregnant cows. Participants receive a FREE evaluation of their herd’s leptospirosis status.

The following article provides a closer look at Leptospirosis. I hope you will join with me in to ensure the research provides valuable insight into the prevalence of leptospirosis in south west dairy herds.


Leptospirosis It is well known that lepto can damage the reproductive performance of dairy and beef herds. Lepto can also make people extremely ill, and put them out of action for several months. Signs in people include severe flu-like symptoms which can develop into a chronic fatigue illness.

For many years Warrnambool Veterinary has recommended Ultravac® 7in1 as the vaccine of choice to prevent leptospirosis and the major clostridial diseases in cattle.

Ultravac® 7in1 is used for the routine vaccination of cattle to prevent leptospirosis due to Lepto.hardjo and Lepto.pomona. These are the two most important species of lepto in Victorian cattle. In comparison with other vaccines, it is also used to prevent urinary shedding of leptospires when used prior to natural exposure.

The vaccine therefore reduces the risk of human leptospiral infection associated with the shedding of leptospires in the urine and from the reproductive tract of cattle. Ultravac® 7 in 1 also prevents colonisation in the reproductive tract, and prevents abortions associated with placental and foetal infection with L. hardjo.

The clostridial diseases prevented by Ultravac 7in1 include blackleg, pulpy kidney, malignant oedema, tetanus and black disease. Ultravac® 7in1 can be used in calves from 6 weeks of age. Vaccinating early in life provides protection after the two initial doses. A single annual dose is all that is required to provide on-going annual protection.

Dosage and Administration


Effective protection against pulpy kidney after the second vaccination lasts about three months. Therefore in high risk situations a booster with a clostridial vaccine such as 5in1 should be administered.

Booster doses can be given one month prior to first joining in heifers. In adult animals a booster dose can be given at drying off or one month before calving, and this will increase the level of protective antibodies in the colostrum which can be passed to the newborn calf.

Special attention should be paid to newly introduced animals. If their vaccination history in unknown they should be vaccinated with two doses 4-6 weeks apart.