Original Scientific Article
Detection of pathogenic Leptospira spp. in goats from slaughterhouses in Southwestern Nigeria using isolation, histochemistry and immunohistochemistry
Olusola Lawrence Ajayi*,
Edem Richard Antia,
Ojebiyi Oluwabusayo Esther,
Temitope Morenikeji Oladipo,
Olajire Moshood Olaniyi,
Olajoju Jokotola Awoyomi

Mac Vet Rev 2021; 44 (1): i - xii


Received: 21 February 2020

Received in revised form: 23 August 2020

Accepted: 15 September 2020

Available Online First: 05 November 2020

Published on: 15 March 2021

Correspondence: Olusola Lawrence Ajayi, alabsola@yahoo.com


Studies on caprine leptospirosis using isolation, histochemistry and immunohistochemistry are rare. The role of small ruminants in the epidemiology of leptospirosis is scarce. This study investigated the prevalence of Leptospira spp. serovars, and the renal pathology of caprine leptospirosis in slaughterhouses from two states in southwest Nigeria using isolation (IS), Warthin Starry silver (WSs) impregnation and immunohistochemistry (IH). One hundred and sixty-nine kidney samples were randomly obtained from goats between September 2015 and June 2017. Chi-square test was used with a confidence level set at 0.05 to ascertain associations between the positive cases, sex and animal species. Eightyseven (51.5%) samples were positive on IS, out of which 26/40 and 25/30 were positive on WSs and IH, respectively. Ten (5.9%) kidneys showed macroscopic lesions while interstitial nephritis (48.6%) and tubular nephrosis (64.2%) were the most prominent histopathological changes. The most frequently observed positive reactions were against serovars Hardjo type Prajitno (12/25, 48%), and Gripptotyphosa (5/25, 20%). Other serovars such as Bratislava (2/25, 8%), Canicola (3/25, 12%), Icterohaemorrhagiae (2/25, 8%), and Pomona (1/25, 4.0%) were also detected using IH. The result showed high prevalence of Leptospira infection in goats and the possibility of humans contracting the disease. To date, the detection of leptospirosis from kidneys of goats using IS, WSs and IH has not been reported. This study is the first documentation of evidence of pathogenic Leptospira species in renal tissues of goats.

Keywords: goats, kidney, leptospirosis, culture isolation, histopathology, immunohistochemistry


  1. Gefu, J.O., Adu, I.F., Magaji, S.O. (1993). Characteristics of small holder sheep and goat management practices in south east Nigeria: Observation from Anambra State, Nigeria. J Anim Prod. 21(1-2): 127-134
  2. Lawal-Adebowale, O.A. (2012). Dynamics of ruminant livestock management in the context of the Nigerian agricultural system. In: Khalid Javed (Ed.), Livestock production. [Internet]. Intechopen science; 2012 October 24 Available from: https://www.intechopen.com/books/livestock-production/dynamics-of-ruminant-livestock-management-in-the-context-of-the-nigerian-agricultural-system https://doi.org/10.5772/52923
  3. Gefu, J.O., Audu, I.F. (1984). Understanding small ruminant production in Northern Nigeria. World Review of Animal Production. 20(3): 35-39.           
  4. Opasina, B.A., David-West, K.B. (1988). Position paper on sheep and goat production in Nigeria [Internet]. Federal Livestock Department, Lagos, Nigeria. Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/s8374b/S8374b20.htm
  5. Jarikre, A.T.A., Emikpe, B.O. (2017). First report of immunohistochemical detection of peste des petit ruminants, parainfluenza 3 and respiratory syncytial viral antigens in lungs of Nigerian goats. J Immunoassay Immunochem. 38(5): 555-568. https://doi.org/10.1080/15321819.2017.1349669 PMid:28679075           
  6. World Health Organization. (1999). Leptospirosis worldwide. Wkly Epidemiol Rec. 74(29): 237-242.
  7. Leal-Castellanos, C.B., Carcia-Suarez, R., Gonzalez-Figueroa, E., Fuentes-Allen, J.L., Escobedo-de La Rena, J. (2003). Risk factors and the prevalence of leptospirosis infection in a rural community of Chiapas, Mexico. Epidemiol Infect. 131(3): 1149-1156. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0950268803001201 PMid:14959783 PMCid:PMC2870065
  8. Bomfim, M.Q., Koury, M.C. (2006). Evaluation of LSSP-PCR for the identification of Leptospira spp. in urine samples of cattle with clinical suspicion of leptospirosis. Vet Microbiol. 118(3-4): 278-288. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2006.07.020 PMid:16962259 
  9. Martins, G., Penna, B., Hamond, C., Leite, R.C.K., Silva, A., Ferreira, A., Brandão, F., Oliveira, F., Lilenbaum, W. (2012). Leptospirosis as the most frequent infectious disease impairing productivity in small ruminants in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Trop Anim Health Prod. 44(4): 773-777. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-011-9964-4 PMid:21898182       
  10. Izurieta, R., Galwankar, S., Clem, A. (2008). Leptospirosis: The "mysterious" mimic. J Emerg Trauma Shock. 1(1): 21-33. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-2700.40573 PMid:19561939 PMCid:PMC2700559
  11. Meites, E., Jay, M.T., Deresinki, S., Shieh, W., Zaki, S.R., Tompkins, L., Smith, D. (2004). Re-emerging leptospirosis, California. Emerg Infect Dis. 10(3): 406-412. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid1003.030431 PMid:15109405 PMCid:PMC3322787   
  12. Office International des Epizooties. [Internet]. Terrestrial manual. (2018). Leptospirosis. Chapter 3.1.12 pp-503-516. Available from: https://www.oie.int/fileadmin/Home/eng/Health_standards/tahm/3.01.12_LEPTO.pdf
  13. Agunloye, C.A., Oyeyemi, M.O., Akusu, M.O., Ajala, O.O., Agbede, S.A. (2002). Clinical and serological diagnosis of leptospirosis in aborting West African dwarf goats. Bull Anim Health Prod Afr. 45, 5-8.
  14. Martins, G., Brandão, F.Z., Hamond, C., Medeiros, M., Lilenbaum, W. (2012). Diagnosis and control of an outbreak of leptospirosis in goats with reproductive failure. Vet J. 193, 600-601. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.01.016 PMid:22365844           
  15. Grooms, D.L. (2006). Reproductive losses caused by bovine viral diarrhea and leptospirosis. Theriogenology 66(3): 624-628. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.theriogenology.2006.04.016 PMid:16716386 
  16. Dhaliwal, G.S., Murray, R.D., Ellis, W.A. (1996). Reproductive performance of dairy herds infected with Leptospira interrogans serovar Hardjo relative to the year of diagnosis. Vet Rec. 138(12): 272-276. https://doi.org/10.1136/vr.138.12.272 PMid:8711883
  17. Yang, C.W. (2007). Leptospirosis renal disease: Understanding the initiation by Toll- like receptors. Kidney Int. 72(8): 918-925. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ki.5002393 PMid:17687261              
  18. Cannon, R.M., Roe, R.T. Livestock disease surveys. A field manual for veterinarians. (1982). Bureau of rural science, Department of primary industry. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  19. Ellinghausen, H.C., McCullough, W.G. (1965). Nutrition of Leptospira pomona and growth of 13 other serotypes: fractionation of oleic albumin complex and a medium of bovine albumin and polysorbate 80. Am J Vet Res. 26, 45-51.              
  20. Johnson, R.C., Harris, V.G., (1967). Differentiation of pathogenic and saprophytic leptospires. I. Growth at low temperatures. J Bacteriol. 94(1): 27-31. https://doi.org/10.1128/JB.94.1.27-31.1967 PMid:6027998 PMCid:PMC251866
  21. Rosetti, C., Bibiana, N.V., Noemi, P., Julio, C.C. (2004). Comparison of three diagnostic methods for the detection of leptospires in the kidneys of wild house mice (Mus musculus). Pesq Vet Bras. 24(1): 6-10. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0100-736X2004000100003
  22. Warthin, A.S., Starry, A.C. (1920). A more rapid and improved method of demonstrating spirochetes in tissues. Am J Syphilis. 4, 97-103.
  23. Holland, J., Parker, A.J., Heslop, C.G. (1977). The prevalence of antibodies against leptospira in goats, sheep and cattle in northern Nigeria. Final Report of the West African Research Team. (pp. 29-36). London: Royal Veterinary College.   
  24. Maronpot, R.R., Barsoum, I.S. (1972). Leptospiral microscopic agglutination antibodies in sera of man and domestic animals in Egypt. Am Trop Med Hyg. 21(4): 467-472. https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.1972.21.467 PMid:5065696          
  25. Sratname, K.L., Coreverad, A., Bsuresh, M.I., Alex, J.C. (1992). Leptospira antibodies among sheep and goat. Indian J Anim Sci. 62, 1041-1043.
  26. Ciceroni, L.A., Bartoloni, A., Pinto, P., Guglielmetti, C., Vald, V.H., Barahona, M.R., Giannice, P.F. (1997). Serological survey of leptospira infection in sheep, goats and dogs in Cordillera province, Bolivia. New Microbiol. 20(1): 77- 81. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0450.1997.tb00960.x PMid:9197208   
  27. Higino, S.S., Santos, F.A., Costa, D.F., Santos, S.A.B., Silva, M.L.C.R., Alves, C.J., Azevedo, S.S. (2013). Flock-level risk factors associated with leptospirosis in dairy goats in a semiarid region of Northeastern Brazil. Prev Vet Med. 109(1-2): 158-161. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.09.005 PMid:23031326           
  28. Yener, Z., Keles, H. (2001). Immunoperoxidase and histopathological examinations of leptospiral nephritis in cattle. J Vet Med A. 48(7): 441-447. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1439-0442.2001.00355.x PMid:11599681         
  29. Ajayi, O.L., Antia, R.E., Ojo, O.E., Awoyomi, O. J., Oyinlola, L.A., Ojebiyi O.G. (2017). Prevalence and renal pathology of pathogenic Leptospira spp. in wildlife in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. Onderstepoort J Vet Res. 84(1): 1210. https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v84i1.1210 PMid:28397515 PMCid:PMC6238786
  30. Skilbeck, N.W., Forsyth, W.M., Dohnt, M. (1988). Bovine leptospirosis: microbiological and histological findings in cattle at slaughter. Aust Vet J. 65(3): 73-75. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-0813.1988.tb07362.x PMid:3401146
  31. Leon-Vizcaino, L., De Mendoza, M.H., Garrido, F. (1987). Incidence of abortions caused by leptospirosis in sheep and goats in Spain. Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 10(2): 149-153. https://doi.org/10.1016/0147-9571(87)90009-9
  32. Silva, E.F., Brod, C.S., Cerqueira, G.M., Bourscheidt, D., Seyffert, N., Queiroz, A., Santos, C.S., Ko, A.I., Dellagostin, O.A. (2007). Isolation of Leptospira noguchii from sheep. Vet Microbiol. 121(1-2): 144-149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2006.11.010 PMid:17222993 PMCid:PMC1868676       
  33. Lilenbaum, W., Varges, R., Medeiros, L., Cordeiro, A.G., Cavalcanti, A., Souza, G.N., Richtzenhain, L., Vasconcellos, S.A. (2008). Risk factors associated with leptospirosis in dairy goats under tropical conditions in Brazil. Res Vet Sci. 84(1): 14-17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2007.03.011 PMid:17543359         
  34. Lilenbaum, W., Ristow, P., Fráguas, S.A., Da Silva, E.D. (2007). Evaluation of a rapid slide agglutination test for the diagnosis of acute canine leptospirosis. Rev Latinoam Microbiol. 44 (3-4): 124-128.
  35. Salgado, M., Otto, B., Sandoval, E., Reinhardt, G., Boqvist, S. (2014). A cross sectional observational study to estimate herd level risk factors for Leptospira spp. serovars in small holder dairy cattle farms in southern Chile. BMC Vet. Res. 10, 126. https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-6148-10-126 PMid:24906684 PMCid:PMC4063232
  36. Salgado, M., Otto, B., Moroni, M., Sandoval, E., Reinhardt, G., Boqvist, S., Encina, C., Muñoz-Zanzi, C. (2015). Isolation of Leptospira interrogans serovar Hardjoprajitno from a calf with clinical leptospirosis in Chile. BMC Vet Res. 11, 66. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-015-0369-x PMid:25888965 PMCid:PMC4374366
  37. Wild, C.J., Greenlee, J.J., Bolin, C.A., Barnett, J.K., Haake, D.A., Cheville, N.F. (2002). An improved immunohistochemical diagnostic technique for canine leptospirosis using antileptospiral antibodies on renal tissue. J Vet Diagn Invest. 14(1): 20-24. https://doi.org/10.1177/104063870201400105 PMid:12680639 PMCid:PMC2666280
  38. Balakrishnan, G. (2012). Seroprevalence of leptospirosis in goats in Tamil Nadu. Tamilnadu J Vet Anim Science. 8(3): 138-144.
  39. Martins, G., Lilenbaum, W. (2014). Leptospirosis in sheep and goats under tropical conditions. Trop Anim Health Prod. 46(1): 11-17. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-013-0480-6 PMid:24085419


© 2020 Ajayi O.L. This is an open-access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Citation Information

Macedonian Veterinary Review. Volume 44, Issue 1, Pages i-xii, e-ISSN 1857-7415, p-ISSN 1409-7621, DOI: 10.2478/macvetrev-2020-0031, 2021