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  1. #1
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    Oct. 24, 2003
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    Default Need Advice-Lyme Titer Results Came In

    When Stanley got his fall vacinations at the end of October, the vet drew a Lyme titer and when the results came in from the lab, it was found that Stanley had the highest titer a horse can get. I can't remember the number but it was really really high.

    Stanley was given 50 Doxycycline pills AM and PM for 30 days. The vet wanted to draw another Lyme titer when he was done with the Doxy.

    The vet waited a month and a couple of weeks ago weeks ago he drew another Lyme titer and I called the vet's office today and I got the results. His Lyme titer dropped by half but is still high.

    The person whom I spoke to on the phone said in the spring I can have the vet give Stanley a canine Lyme vaccine and this may help him. Has anyone heard about this?

    Also I am not sure what to do next. I left a message for the vet to call me but he hasn't yet called.

    Any advice, thoughts or opinions? Should Stanley be given more Doxy or should I wait until the spring?



  2. #2
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    OMG...and that is meant to be large caps.

    Yeah, I feel a bit more knowledgable than most, but still not an expert nor a vet, so take this from a lay person.

    First, DO NOT ADMINISTER THE LYME VACCINE(canine) TO A PREVIOUSLY INFECTED HORSE!!!!! Especially one who might currently be infected. OMG, I would so not trust that vet!!!

    Dr. Divers study is on non infected horses, and states this is not for infected horses. As an aside, when administering any vaccine to an infected animal at least with strep equi IN, which is also a live vaccine, can cause major complications and death! So, I would not even consider vaccinating my horse if he was at one time a positive lyme horse.

    Background, I have 10 horses, 5 were tested positive in 2008, treated, etc. I have 5 other horses who were new to me, and tested negative, and yes, we did vaccinate 3 of them. the other two, one was needle phobic, and the other wasn't born yet(from needle phobic mare). We just snap tested them in December and those two are also negative, and will get the canine lyme vaccine this spring AFTER we test the vaccinated horses who have been here 2 years now, and vaccinated for 2 years. If they(vaccinated horses) are still negative, bet your bottom dollar all negative lyme horses in my care will be vaccinated.
    The 5 positive, well, let's just say they will be heavily pyrethrimized!!! No vaccine for them until there is testing on horses who were once positive is done.

    Doxy needs to be administered at 10kg per kg per my vet hospital clinic, who gets most of her information from Dr. Diver, a leading expert from Cornell on lyme. Optimally, they should be treated for 3 months.

    I am now doing snap tests...yup, same ones used for dogs. cheaper, definitive and get results on the farm. We just did this in december, and sure enough the snap test correlated with the elissa and western blot. For jollies, and since I love spending money(not), I wanted to see what the snap and the western blot showed. So...now a huge fan of snap test.

    Also, elissa just tells antibody level, so if you really want to know if currently infected, then do the snap or the western blot, which cornell automatically does if elissa is high. Snap and western blot will definitively tell you if there is a current infection, elissa only tells you antibody level. In my own little research study here, it seems the mare who was previously positive for lyme, has a lower antibody level on the elissa. She also tested negative when we did the snap.

    In summary, I do want to say there are many theories and treatments, etc, and it seems every single study and comment about the disease has a slew of papers to back it up...even if it conflicts with another vet/ph.d research.

    BUT, no where have I read about giving a vaccine to a previously infected horse! that really bothers me your vet's office suggested that.

    Also, many vets are not comfortable with giving the canine vaccine...my vet only did it on my hospital vet's ok. She is well respected and super knowledgable. So, you might have a problem with a local vet doing the vaccine for you, BUT, if they are ok with it, then they should be doing it to only horses who have been negative.

    Personally, I do not feel many local vets have the knowledge or the time to research this disease, and its up to us to be our horse's advocate. Additionally, there is a lot of conflict in the research.

    I also attended a clinic at Equine Affaire with mark reilly dvm. If you go to his website...south shore equine clinic, he has his lyme presentation power point link ...good information.

    Another thing, it seems most vets do not do or use the snap test(same one they use in the vets office for testing your dog) often for lyme in equines. Ask your vet about using that.
    It is now going to be part of my spring and fall tests. At my vet, it is $38.00
    Its quick, easy and gets you the information you need...horse is positive or it isn't.
    I spoke to my local vet today about using it more with clients and offering it to people since we live in such a lyme infected area, and the elissa/western blot is somewhat prohibitively expensive. At a previous vet I used, they charged me 150 per horse!!! My new vet charges me 75, but I think she discounts it a bit for me, since I was doing it to check treatment response, etc. As I have said, going forward, I am just doing the snap.



  3. #3
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    Feb. 5, 2008
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    Default

    Fivehorses - Thank you for your very detailed experiences and information. I had not ever heard of using the canine shot for horses. I think if it were suggested to me for my other horses, I would call Cornell first now that you have educated me some!

    I am dealing with Lymes too in a horse that had wound and hoof issues that would not heal on a hind leg.
    I started a thread on this topic a couple of weeks ago on potential Doxycycline side effects as he coliced after 3 days of the medication. He is now on Probiotics and so far so good...

    My horse Fred, has been pretty agreeable with the medication in a suspended formula. He is on 16 cc 2x day for 30 days. We did not even try the pills as he is impossible to medicate and the pills according to my vet, would be hard to disolve so we went with this liquid version from Hagyard and McGee Associates. I still have to dose syringe the med as he won't eat it with his grain even with a topping to disguise it...

    I am hopeful this will lead to the leg and hoof finally healing.



  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fivehorses View Post
    Also, elissa just tells antibody level, so if you really want to know if currently infected, then do the snap or the western blot, which cornell automatically does if elissa is high. Snap and western blot will definitively tell you if there is a current infection, elissa only tells you antibody level.
    All of those are antibody tests with the snap being the least reliable. If you want an accurate diagnosis for Lyme, get PCR done. This website explains all of the tests (they do them all) and what they are:

    http://www.igenex.com/lymeset5.htm

    Note: there are many vets who don't believe horses get Lyme. In some parts of the country (the Northeast, for example) almost all animals who go outside test positive for Lyme antibodies, including cats. Horses aren't any sicker in the Northeast than they are elsewhere.



  5. #5
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    Aug. 23, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcloisonne View Post
    All of those are antibody tests with the snap being the least reliable....
    Absolutely agree with you! The Snap is a fast and easily convenient test, but unfortunately it is not accurate. I have had two experiences where the Snap test was used to diagnose sudden onset high fever in two dogs (fevers 105.1 in one dog and 105.9 in the other). These were the only two times that I've had the Snap test used for diagnosis of anything - so two times out of two, the Snap was wrong. The dogs were not sick at the same time, in fact the illnesses were at least two years apart and the dogs were seen by different vets.

    In both cases the Snap tests were WRONG (gave negative results when in fact the dogs were positive - one had Ehrlichia and the other had Anaplasma). Both were extremely ill, especially the one with Anaplasma who was in danger of bleeding to death due to an extremely critical low blood platelet count).

    Anyway, in both cases I had marvelous vets who did not take the Snap test results seriously, sent blood to a lab for correct diagnosis, and thus saved both dogs lives. If the Snap tests had been believed, neither would have been treated properly and both most likely would have died.

    THANK GOD for GOOD VETS! I have my wonderful dogs and they are both happy and very, very healthy today.



  6. #6
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    Oct. 24, 2003
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fivehorses View Post
    OMG...and that is meant to be large caps.

    Yeah, I feel a bit more knowledgable than most, but still not an expert nor a vet, so take this from a lay person.

    First, DO NOT ADMINISTER THE LYME VACCINE(canine) TO A PREVIOUSLY INFECTED HORSE!!!!! Especially one who might currently be infected. OMG, I would so not trust that vet!!!

    Dr. Divers study is on non infected horses, and states this is not for infected horses. As an aside, when administering any vaccine to an infected animal at least with strep equi IN, which is also a live vaccine, can cause major complications and death! So, I would not even consider vaccinating my horse if he was at one time a positive lyme horse.

    Background, I have 10 horses, 5 were tested positive in 2008, treated, etc. I have 5 other horses who were new to me, and tested negative, and yes, we did vaccinate 3 of them. the other two, one was needle phobic, and the other wasn't born yet(from needle phobic mare). We just snap tested them in December and those two are also negative, and will get the canine lyme vaccine this spring AFTER we test the vaccinated horses who have been here 2 years now, and vaccinated for 2 years. If they(vaccinated horses) are still negative, bet your bottom dollar all negative lyme horses in my care will be vaccinated.
    The 5 positive, well, let's just say they will be heavily pyrethrimized!!! No vaccine for them until there is testing on horses who were once positive is done.

    Doxy needs to be administered at 10kg per kg per my vet hospital clinic, who gets most of her information from Dr. Diver, a leading expert from Cornell on lyme. Optimally, they should be treated for 3 months.

    I am now doing snap tests...yup, same ones used for dogs. cheaper, definitive and get results on the farm. We just did this in december, and sure enough the snap test correlated with the elissa and western blot. For jollies, and since I love spending money(not), I wanted to see what the snap and the western blot showed. So...now a huge fan of snap test.

    Also, elissa just tells antibody level, so if you really want to know if currently infected, then do the snap or the western blot, which cornell automatically does if elissa is high. Snap and western blot will definitively tell you if there is a current infection, elissa only tells you antibody level. In my own little research study here, it seems the mare who was previously positive for lyme, has a lower antibody level on the elissa. She also tested negative when we did the snap.

    In summary, I do want to say there are many theories and treatments, etc, and it seems every single study and comment about the disease has a slew of papers to back it up...even if it conflicts with another vet/ph.d research.

    BUT, no where have I read about giving a vaccine to a previously infected horse! that really bothers me your vet's office suggested that.

    Also, many vets are not comfortable with giving the canine vaccine...my vet only did it on my hospital vet's ok. She is well respected and super knowledgable. So, you might have a problem with a local vet doing the vaccine for you, BUT, if they are ok with it, then they should be doing it to only horses who have been negative.

    Personally, I do not feel many local vets have the knowledge or the time to research this disease, and its up to us to be our horse's advocate. Additionally, there is a lot of conflict in the research.

    I also attended a clinic at Equine Affaire with mark reilly dvm. If you go to his website...south shore equine clinic, he has his lyme presentation power point link ...good information.

    Another thing, it seems most vets do not do or use the snap test(same one they use in the vets office for testing your dog) often for lyme in equines. Ask your vet about using that.
    It is now going to be part of my spring and fall tests. At my vet, it is $38.00
    Its quick, easy and gets you the information you need...horse is positive or it isn't.
    I spoke to my local vet today about using it more with clients and offering it to people since we live in such a lyme infected area, and the elissa/western blot is somewhat prohibitively expensive. At a previous vet I used, they charged me 150 per horse!!! My new vet charges me 75, but I think she discounts it a bit for me, since I was doing it to check treatment response, etc. As I have said, going forward, I am just doing the snap.
    Thank you so much for that information! I definitely won't be doing that then! It wasn't the vet's advice it was a vet tech that I spoke to on the phone or it may have been an office person. I didn't speak to the vet. I am still waiting for him to call me back to discuss if Stanley needs to be on Doxy again.



  7. #7
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    I disagree with both of you!
    I also want to comment about the PCR, as it states in the link, "A negative result implies only that B. burgdorferi-specific DNA was not detected in the test sample. While the PCRs potential sensitivity is tremendous, the sample tested must contain at least one recoverable organism for the genomic assay, and pieces or blebs of antigen for the plasmid assay. " So, in other words, if a biopsy did not have the organism in that particular biopsy, the results would be negative.

    I still stand by the snap and the western blot as being your most definitive tests.

    I agree, good vets are essential in this, and vets who also have the opportunity to attend clinics and research the latest findings. Many local vets simply do not have the time to sift through all the data about lyme. I use New England Equine, and personally I think they are top vets.
    They consult with Dr. Divers at Cornell.
    They as well as Dr. Reilly from South Shore both use the snap to test for tick borne disease.

    Just recently, in my own experience, I wanted to see what the snap test results were compared to sending off to Cornell for the elissa and western blot. The snap had two of 6 horses positive for lyme, and the elissa and western blot backed that up. Additionally, some of those 6 had been previously positive via the elissa/western blot, treated and now are negative, both on the snap and the elissa/western blot. So, my experience was quite different than yours Claddagh.

    In your particular case Claddagh, I would wonder how much was failure on the part of the tester or the product(storage and handling, etc). If I had an animal that sick, I would want further diagnostics as well. I don't think any test is full proof for a variety of reasons.

    RCloisonne, I guess I am really disturbed by your remarks "In some parts of the country (the Northeast, for example) almost all animals who go outside test positive for Lyme antibodies, including cats. Horses aren't any sicker in the Northeast than they are elsewhere."
    Are you fricking kidding me? Then pray tell, why do my dogs test negative and why do some of my horses test negative? And yes, horses are sicker with lyme here in the northeast more than the rest of the country, but the mid atlantic is giving us a run for the money with the disease more and more common. I really do not know how you can make such a statement.

    Mint Hill Farm...as far as lyme canine vaccine for horses. It has not been proven to be effective, although Dr. Divers at Cornell has done some tests and found horses vaccinated to not get lyme. I know there are other vets here in the NH/Maine area who regularly vaccinate the canine lyme vaccine on equines as well. So far, no horse vaccinated has later tested positive that I am aware of. He has not done testing on previously infected horses and recommends a horse be tested first prior to giving the vaccine.
    Also, since the vaccine is off label, meant for dogs, some vets may not be comfortable giving it.



  8. #8
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    Oct. 25, 2007
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    A horse some day, I hope your horse gets better soon.
    Also, a longer course than 30 days is generally more useful, since the disease is difficult to get rid of.

    My first round, 5 horses positive. We did doxy for 2 for 3 months, and 2 for 2 months, and 1 for 1 month.
    I started them at different times. 2 were tested first, and when results came back, started them on doxy. Set up an appt to test my remaining herd, and when they came back positive, started them up on doxy.
    The horse who was on doxy for one month, had a mini colic, and I pulled him off.

    Interestingly, at retesting he was off the chart negative. We now believe the sample was mixed up. No one(veterinarian) that I have spoken to has seen elissa go from 373 to 49. Since it was so low, Cornell did not run a western blot. We just had him retested two weeks ago again when the snap showed him positive, and he is positive elissa as well as positive western blot. his elissa was again in the high 300's. I probably should have questioned the follow up to treatment elissa/western blot, but wanted to believe he was cured. He is my older gelding, and the question about the treatment worse than the disease is being considered. BTW, Cornell's numbers for elissa are different than UCONN's so you can't compare the two.

    Anyhow, these are my experiences, and I am sure everyone has their own unique experiences. Having ten horses gives me my own little experimental station here. Some diseased, treated and cured, some still diseased, some never diseased and vaccinated, etc, etc.

    I just wanted to share the use of the snap in testing, since I had never heard about it, and was only offered the elissa/western blot. The snap gives you instant information, where sending off to a lab for the elissa/western blot can take days or longer to get the results.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fivehorses View Post
    ...
    In your particular case Claddagh, I would wonder how much was failure on the part of the tester or the product(storage and handling, etc). If I had an animal that sick, I would want further diagnostics as well. I don't think any test is full proof for a variety of reasons....
    In the case of my two dogs, I doubt that the false negative Snap results were the failure of the tester(s). The illnesses were two years apart. The dogs were tested by two different veterinarians. And at two entirely different veterinary practices (so the product and/or storage were totally unrelated).

    And I wholeheartedly agree with you about wanting further diagnostics when an animal is that ill. However, if the Snap tests aren't reliable, what good are they? Both of my dogs were started on treatment immediately, despite the *negative* results on the Snap tests (and they were in the vet's office within hours of getting ill). The results from the lab bloodwork just confirmed what my vet's suspected, despite the incorrect Snap results.

    As I said earlier, thank God for good vets!!!



  10. #10
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    I have not given the canine lyme vaccine to horses, but do know of vets who do. I even read a short blurb about it in an infectious disease textbook. Very small study mentioned. It is pretty new.

    Perhaps tomorrow I'll go find the book that had the blurb in the chapter on Lyme and post a link.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by fivehorses View Post
    I disagree with both of you!
    I also want to comment about the PCR, as it states in the link, "A negative result implies only that B. burgdorferi-specific DNA was not detected in the test sample. While the PCRs potential sensitivity is tremendous, the sample tested must contain at least one recoverable organism for the genomic assay, and pieces or blebs of antigen for the plasmid assay. " So, in other words, if a biopsy did not have the organism in that particular biopsy, the results would be negative.
    True, but if high titers indicate active disease as some claim, wouldn't you expect at least the remains of a single organism to show up? PCR testing can be done on a blood sample. Biopsy not required.

    I still stand by the snap and the western blot as being your most definitive tests.
    You can stand by it all you want, it's still only a test for antibodies, not active disease. Did you read the site?

    Besides, I thought you stated the snap test was the most definitive? I can assure you it's not. In fact, all of my animals (one dog and several cats) test positive for Lyme with the snap for years and not a single one has ever been sick. The cats have never even been outside so unless it's transmissible via the dog (whose snap was > 40,000 every time tested) how in the world could they have been exposed to Lyme? The test is bogus, IMO, yet some vets want to retest my cats every year!

    Every horse I've had tested was also "positive". One of them had extremely high titers (ELISA) and the strongest response on the Western Blot. None have had any symptoms of Lyme. The one with very high titers, in her late 20s and who spent the first 16 years of her life a few miles from Lyme, CT and the rest of it in western RI, was never even stiff in the AM coming out of her stall as many old horses are. While she suffered from a couple of serious health problems that were extremely difficult to manage in her later years, Lyme wasn't one of them.

    YMMV.



  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=Claddagh;4605139]
    However, if the Snap tests aren't reliable, what good are they?
    Claddagh, I have no doubt of your experience, but to state the snap tests are not reliable seems to be based on your experience alone. Mine was the complete opposite. They were very reliable and the elissa/western blot sent to cornell confirmed the snap(I was still not a believer in the snap).

    I did not even know the snap could be used on equines until I went to Equine Affaire this November and attended Mark Reilly DVM from South Shore Equine Clinic and he highly recommends the snap and it is the only one test he uses.

    I discussed this with Dr. Bartol at New England Equine Clinic who also said she uses the snap.

    I do not know Dr. Reilly, but I do know and highly respect Dr. Bartol. She has advanced degrees in Internal Medicine and well is someone who I think not only does her homework, but also is just a most excellent practitioner. If she feels confident in the snap test results, then I it gives me confidence. Plus, my mini test of doing snap tests and elissa/western blot confirmed.



  13. #13
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    I experienced the highest titer within my horse as well. He was never sore just flat out tired in his stall. I did a month with doxy, did not ride him either. After that I had his titer ran again and he went back to normal. Horse has been fine for years now with no sign of it again.



  14. #14
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    Rcloisonne, I did read the site. That is where I got the information that if it is not in the biopsy, then it can be false results.

    However, I will check more into the PCR, since as I have said, we all need to be our animals advocate. At this time, I am confidant that the snap is useful, but I do not think any test is full proof and if questionable, we will keep testing till we run out of tests!!!! to determine the cause of a problem.

    BTW, totally aside. I had a horse with bastard strangles. We did a biopsy, sent it to the state's university lab...came back negative for strangles. After 3 months, and I knew something was still not quite right, and meds were not working, we retested, BUT I insisted that it be sent to Cornell, who sends or use to send their strep equi down to Gluck at UKy. Guess what, yup, positive.
    When I questioned that, the response was that different labs test differently, have different equipment, etc. Now, come on, how is a lay person to know that?

    So...as Claddagh's vets did, if negative, but clincally they felt the animal was infected, send it on for more, and perhaps better testing. Also, cannot emphasize the value of a good vet, one who is still hungry to learn and keep abreast of the latest and who loves their job. Or who knows their limitations and checks their ego at the door and refers you on or does not tell you something that is incorrect.



  15. #15
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    Having just had blood sent off to test for Lyme (as a result of my own reading and "diagnosis") my head is swimming. My local vet here in MISSOURI, yes you read that right, Missouri, the Midwest, knows NOTHING. He called and spoke with a vet at UKy and Mo Vet School and is sending
    the blood off to have a "screening" done. OMG. Have I got a long way to go in terms of treatment and education.

    Now, that horse is a retired 25 y/o QH. What to do about my 13 y/o Eventer who is "healthy as a horse"? I want to test him, too, and maybe do the canine vac if he is negative. He is sound as can be and at the peak of his career. And my vet knows NOTHING. What a long journey I have. I'm sure no one in the Midwest has ever even though of giving a canine Lyme vac to a horse.

    Any directions for me?



  16. #16
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    From a laboratory technologist point if view. Antigen testing is far more accurate then antibody. Antigen testing in this case is PCR testing. If you are testing for antibodies you must repeat the test in order for you to determine if the antibody going up or down or sometimes staying the same. You need to do a base line test and then recheck the level again in a month or so. Human testing is moving toward the PCR testing rapidly. You can have a very small amount of antigen and it will be detectable through the magic of PCR. If you don't have the disease you won't have the antigen. You will have antibodies if you have been exposed to the disease and recovered. Thus the problems with antibody testing. Antibody test are not bad it just takes more then one sample to get an idea of whats going on. A lot of people are not eager to have repeat testing and treatment should begun as soon as possible. So there's the vet is making their best guess as to what is going on.
    As far as using a snap test that is made for dogs that is not a good idea. Each test is species specific. You can run a horse specimen on a snap test made with dog antibodies, you will get a number. This number does not correlate to anything. Its just garbage. Hope that helps.



  17. #17
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    So how much $ does the PCR test run?



  18. #18
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    I personally would not rely on snap test results for my horse. I worked for an equine vet in New England and we had a lot of owners who would chose to do both the snap test and ELISA/western blot at Cornell. There were many occasions that the snap test would be negative and the ELISA/western blot would come back positive. One of the doctors in the practice stopped using the snap test all together.

    This is the first I have heard of giving the canine vaccine to horses, but I have a lot of experience giving it to dogs. The advice about vaccinating a horse previously infected does not surprise me that much since I have seen many dogs get vaccinated that have previously been infected (including my own dogs) with no problems at all. This may be different in horses and obviously any animal that is sick should not be vaccinated.

    I am surprised that your horse was retested after only 1 month. The doctors that I worked with would recommend waiting at least 3-6 months before retesting.

    I agree that most animals that go outside in New England will be lyme positive. I have seen many animals come up positive without any symptoms. I am not saying that lyme disease isn't real and that there aren't animals that will test negative, I just feel like sometimes a horse's lameness will be blamed on lyme disease because of a positive test when it is just a coincidental finding.

    I am not a vet or an expert by any means, just relaying what I have seen in my experience as a vet tech in New England.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liz2642 View Post
    I agree that most animals that go outside in New England will be lyme positive. I have seen many animals come up positive without any symptoms. I am not saying that lyme disease isn't real and that there aren't animals that will test negative, I just feel like sometimes a horse's lameness will be blamed on lyme disease because of a positive test when it is just a coincidental finding.
    Exactly!



  20. #20
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    In some parts of the country (the Northeast, for example) almost all animals who go outside test positive for Lyme antibodies,
    yes. Is the horse symptomatic? if he's not, there's no reason to test him, and certainly no reason to treat him with doxy.
    All of the Lyme tests are not terribly accurate. And, once an animal is exposed to Lyme, whether or not they are actively infected or exhibiting symptoms, they will test positive forevermore on the Lyme antibody tests.
    Many vets will treat characteristic Lyme symptoms that have no other obvious cause with ten days of doxy without bothering with a Lyme test (which all come back positive anyway). If the animal doesn't rapidly begin recovering they assume the symptoms weren't due to Lyme.
    oh, the canine vaccine isn't recommended to be given to dogs anymore, who would give it to a horse???



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randomness