Zoetis Launches Diagnostic Test for Zoonotic, Infectious Disease of Dogs

Witness® Lepto point-of-care test detects antibodies frequently associated with acute leptospirosis, a possibly deadly and often undiagnosed disease in dogs

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — April 12, 2017 — Zoetis today announced the launch of Witness® Lepto, a rapid, point-of-care test available in the United States that detects the primary immune response to canine leptospires as early as seven days after infection.1-5
Witness Lepto is the first point-of-care test available in the United States for specific detection of anti-Lepstospira immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies to four of the most common serovars — Canicola, Grippotyphosa, Icterohaemorrhagiae and Pomona — affecting dogs.

“An IgM-based test is ideal for early detection and diagnosis, which is key for successful treatment,” said Richard E. Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM, DECVIM-CA, chief medical officer at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. “Leptospirosis has a high mortality rate when diagnosed late. Additionally, being able to conduct the test in-clinic is important not only to rapidly turn results into appropriate treatment, but also to enable us to take the necessary steps to protect our hospital staff and the dog’s family from the spread of this disease that can affect humans as well as dogs.”

Leptospirosis was once considered a lifestyle disease, mostly contracted by hunting and farm dogs. Today, it can be found throughout the United States, and infections in suburban and urban areas are growing more common, including in dry climates such as Arizona and urban areas like New York City.

Common risk factors for leptospirosis for dogs include: contact with freshwater sources such as rivers, lakes or streams; roaming in the same places as infected rodents, wildlife and farm animals, including suburban and urban walking trails and parks; direct contact with infected animals such as rodents or raccoons; and through breeding.

Because infected dogs excrete leptospires in their urine, dogs can pose a potential zoonotic risk to humans. Timely diagnosis and the initiation of appropriate antibiotic therapy provide the greatest benefit to the veterinary patient while simultaneously decreasing the risk of zoonotic transmission.

Confirmation of canine leptospirosis is often delayed because the signs of infection are non-specific, especially in the early stages, and veterinarians often test for other conditions first. If left untreated — or treated too late — leptospirosis can lead to fatal kidney and/or liver disease.

“Leptospirosis can manifest with vague clinical signs such as fever, lethargy, anorexia and vomiting,” said Dr. Matthew Krecic, senior technical services manager, U.S. Diagnostics for Zoetis. “Early treatment is critical to mitigate the damage leptospirosis can cause. Identifying and treating leptospirosis early and aggressively can help increase a dog’s chance for a full recovery.”

As a screening diagnostic test, Witness Lepto requires only 5 μL of sample of anticoagulated whole blood, serum or plasma for each test and approximately 10 minutes to produce results. Instead of waiting for leptospirosis test results from a laboratory, a veterinarian can now test a suspect dog with Witness Lepto in the clinic and, based on the in-clinic result, confidently begin appropriate treatment. Laboratory confirmation can then be performed, as needed.

“Zoetis is committed to bringing rapid, reliable tests to the market to help veterinarians diagnose conditions and begin treatment quickly,” said Chris Demiris, marketing director, U.S. Diagnostics for Zoetis. “Witness Lepto is an additional test in our expanding diagnostics portfolio that helps keep pets healthy.”

In addition to Witness Lepto used for detection, Zoetis also offers Vanguard® L4 vaccines that help protect dogs against infection with the four most common leptospirosis serovars. All Vanguard L4 vaccines are manufactured using a proprietary diafiltration process, which helps remove extraneous protein, thereby increasing the potential for a smooth vaccination experience.

“Preventing infection with Leptospira is the best offense against this disease,” said Dr. Goldstein. “I recommend pet owners talk with their veterinarian about possible infection and vaccination.”

Leptospira bacteria enter the dog’s body via penetration of intact mucous membranes or abraded skin, and they begin rapidly replicating in the bloodstream for the next 4–12 days, depending on the organism’s virulence and the dog’s immune response. In general, IgM antibodies will appear within three to 3–10 days after infection.

Data have demonstrated that the new diagnostic test performs equal to or better than the laboratory microscopic agglutination test (MAT), detecting IgM antibodies that typically develop within one week of exposure.1-5

The new Witness Lepto test will be available April 20. For more information about WITNESS Lepto or any Zoetis diagnostic test, please visit http://zoetisus.com/lepto .

About Zoetis
Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products, genetic tests, biodevices and a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2016, the company generated annual revenue of $4.9 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.

For further information contact:
Chris Demiris
Marketing Director, U.S. Diagnostics

Lindsey Goodman
Archer Malmo

1 Data on file, Study Report No. BH63W-US-12-029, Zoetis Inc.
2 Data on file, Study Report No. BH63W-US-16-230, Zoetis Inc.
3 Data on file, Study Report No. BH63W-US-16-231, Zoetis Inc.
4 Data on file, Study Report No. BH63W-US-16-232, Zoetis Inc.
5 Data on file, Study Query XTR6Q002, Zoetis Inc.



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