Twenty-four specific pathogen-free beagles were randomly allocated into four groups (three vaccinated groups and one control group) and inoculated at nine and 12 weeks of age with one of three commercial inactivated Leptospira vaccines: A (Vanguard 7; Pfizer Santé Animale), B (Dohyvac 7L; Fort Dodge), and C (Nobivac DHPPi + Lepto; Intervet Intemational); the control group received Nobivac DHPPi (Intervet International). Seven weeks after the second vaccination all the dogs were challenged with Leptospira interrogans serogroup canicola. All the vaccinated dogs developed a mild serological response (microscopic agglutination titres) after the booster vaccination. A significant serological response after the challenge was observed, particularly in the controls. The challenge induced fever and clinical disorders in the control group, whereas in the vaccinated groups the clinical signs were mild. Blood cultures became positive in all control dogs, and in one of six dogs vaccinated with vaccine A and two of four dogs vaccinated with vaccine B; none of the six dogs vaccinated with vaccine C was leptospiraemic at any stage of the experiment. Urine cultures were positive in all the control dogs two weeks after the challenge. One of six dogs vaccinated with vaccine A and two of four dogs vaccinated with vaccine B shed bacteria in their urine after the challenge, but none of the dogs vaccinated with vaccine C shed bacteria in their urine at any time during the experiment.
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