My horse was diagnosed with neurologic lymes disease. He was put on a course of minocycline as they (New Bolton Center) believe that this is a drug that will acutally penetrate into the spinal cord.
Has anyone had this before? I am having a hard time understanding if the effects, slightly neurologic - not wanting to move forward, but absolutely no stumbling or dangerousness, will be diminished? The medication is extremely expensive and now I am questioning the ongoing check-up.
60 days ago the horse was put on the minocycline. I was told to contact NBC to set up a standing spinal tap after the meds were completed to recheck. I called to do so and now they only want to take blood to check for the lymes and do another neuro test. They said they do not want to do the standing spinal tap. Now I am confused... I can have my vet pull a blood lymes test and do the neuro test without driving to NBC....
Has anyone had experience? I am really strugging and I really cannot find any information about neurologic lymes.
I have not had any experience or run across anything called neurologic lyme. I have had Lyme for two years, either chronic or many repeated exposures. I found doing any research for Lyme disease and treatment of Lyme disease in people very frustrating. There is huge amounts of conflicting information about the treatment of Lyme, testing for Lyme and whether it is chronic or not.
I would call New Bolton Center to see if you can actually speak to the doctor that wanted you to come back for the standing spinal tap to find out if and why that recommendation has changed.
I have not read or heard about a spinal tap as part of diagnosing any form of Lyme but that does not mean that it isn't a new protocol.
Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)
First, I did actually speak to the doctor and I directly asked why no spinal tap and did not get a straight answer. The answer was just, we should do a blood test and neuro exam.
Lyme - Lymes - I appreciate the corrections but really, I am concerned for my horse and looking for answers and information but if you only are going to correct me on how I spelled it, just don't waste your time.
As a neurologic Lyme sufferer myself, I was given minocycline. It's one of the few oral antibiotics that will cross the blood brain barrier.
As for the rest of your questions, I suggest you talk to the New Bolton vets, unless you think they're not up on current Lyme protocol. Which I seriously doubt (that they're not up on current treatment).
“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”
― Immanuel Kant
Oh Best View, I am very sorry you are going through this. I am no expert, but I have delt with NBC and Lyme a lot. Ugh.
Ok, NBC is a wonderful place. And, they have come far in their dealing with Lyme. However, I agree that they are not up with the latest. They tend to be late in the area of Lyme and have been for a long time. I had a horse with neurologic Lyme about 6 years ago. At that time the vets NBC did not even recognize that Lyme effected horses. Truly! I spent a lot of money there trying to fix my horse and could never get a conclusive answer from them. Anyway, that horse has since been put down. (he was only 8 yrs. old!) I have learned a lot about Lyme since then.
First of all, you need to pull a true Lyme test and have it sent to Cornell. Cornell ONLY. They are the leaders. Have your regular vet do it. It will come back with three results letting you know if he has no early infection, current infection or chronic.
The gold standard in treating Lyme now is IV Oxytet. Most do it for 30 days. My current horse was tested mildly high in the chronic stage. I opted for 14 days with the IV (they put a catheter in your horses neck for the injection of a bag of fluid Oxytet). He is now on 30 days of Minocycline (28 capsules am and pm. He is eating the caps with his feed!)
I had my horse stay with the vet to get his 2 weeks of IV treatment. Tho, I have had friends that have done it themselves. It was not feasible for me to do it as the catheter has to be cleaned 4 - 6 times a day. It can be a daunting process.
If your horse is indeed neurologic you need to go the full route to get rid of this! Good luck and keep us posted!
I, sadly, have to echo what foxford posted. NBC is great in a lot of ways. But as the owner, I have often found their communication lacking. And I don't think they're cutting egde on lyme. When Shane was there for a bone scan, he was on Doxy at the time and they didn't bother to give it. When I inquired why, they were sort of like "shrug, why bother." Not what you'd expect from a top notch vet hospital (charing me muchos bucks!) You need to do the Cornell blood test. And have your vet consult with Cornell, IMHO. Cornell are the lyme gurus.
I don't understand how the conversation with the vet went. Did you not tell him that you didn't understand why he didn't want to do the spinal tap anymore? If you don't understand what he's saying, speak up and ask for a clarification!
I just hear this often when I talk to people that don't understand their pet's treatment (or their own treatment at the doctor). And I don't get why you don't keep asking questions until someone explains it clearly. Sometimes doctors get caught up in thinking in medical terms that they forget it might sound like gibberish to a lay person. Or, like any person, they do a partial explanation forgetting that you don't have the same background.
My Dutch WB had neuro signs with a high Lyme titer as well. He was tripping and walking like he was on a tightrope. We treated him with IV Oxytetracycline for 28 days via a catheter in his neck. He was actually 100% better in just 7 days! But of course we finished the entire course of meds. It has now been 3 years and (knock on wood) absolutely zero sign of a return.
Just wanted to provide an update. Per the vets at NBC, the reason behind not doing the lyme test on spinal fluid is because of the invasive nature of doing the spinal tap. They all (4 vets at NBC who are consulting) agreed that they want the results of the serum before they actually do another spinal test.
The good news is that the horse was a little better. He still has some symptoms that are concerning and make him grade 1 neurologic but he is definitely better than he was.
The new plan is to keep him on the minocycline for 30 more days and start working him lightly. All of the vets feel that for a horse with such slight neurologic symptoms, some light work is helpful. He will then be evaluated again by NBC in 30 days to determine his progress and next steps.
After asking about 100 questions to several different vets at NBC about lyme disease, the answers are not consistent and they are not definite. The vets are fully aware that lyme is a disease that cannot be treated the same in every horse and many horses react differently to different treatments. My horse never had an IV therapy of antibiotics for lyme and all of the vets agreed that with this horse it was not the right course of treatment. Minocycline, I am told, is the best drug now to treat lyme but it is very expensive.
One other note, the lyme tests have all been done by Cornell, NBC sends everything out to them for testing when it comes to lyme and they consult directly with Cornell in most cases.
I will keep anyone who is interested updated. It seems it will be an interesting journey.
I acutally seem to have a good update as of today. My horse is doing much better and has another check up at NBC on Thursday of this week. I have been riding him once or twice a week and we even are able to canter! It is amazing how much better he seems.
Lyme disease is amazingly complex and I encourage anyone to be patient (I know I was not as patient as I should have been) because the medications take a long while to really work. I still have my horse on the minocycline and will request to keep him on it until the end of the month to just be sure. It is very expensive (approx $25/day) but I would hate to have to start over.
Hi -- I don't want to hijack this thread, but some of the things a few of you mentioned have me wondering if my old guy Bodie might not be Lyme-positive. Could you share the symptoms that your horses began to develop, the ones that first let you know something was wrong?
Bodie had blood work done about a month ago due to chronic lameness and infection (which turned out to be thorns he'd run into his frog that weren't visible to me), but also to see if there was a reason behind his sudden weight loss. Nothing came back. But he hasn't gained weight, despite an increase in grain, free-choice hay, and Fat Cat.
More troubling to me have been the changes in the past two-three weeks with his gaits. He has arthritis in the bones of both front hooves and is built downhill anyway, so we keep him on joint supplements. I haven't seen any lameness. But I have seen him walking strangely, placing one foreleg in front of the other as if walking on a tightrope. The last 2-3 days, I've seen him walking very slowly with his head very low, almost as if he wants to lay down and roll; this lasts for a bit, and then he sort of shakes it off and moves on.
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, and it could be Lyme, what test(s) do I need to ask my vet to do? And at the age of 25, would it be worth it to put him through the treatment (ie, are there any side effects)?
can i be nosy and ask you about how much $$ this will cost you to keep your horse alive and well? I had thought my horse was acting funny and was going to request a lyme test, but then he was back to normal. but ticks were bad this november. i am just curious what i would have to do financially if this became a reality in my situation.
My situation was unique because it was neurologic lyme disease and he was placed on a "new" medication rather than doxycycline. I believe that the standard treatment is using oxytet and or doxycycline. I know they are cheaper than what I paid. There are also other threads, you may want to do a search, because they were talking about the price of doxy as it has been changing.
My cost so far has been $25/day for meds and we are currently at about 100 days and I am thinking it will continue for at least 30 more.
I also had extensive diagnostics which cost over $2600 before the meds.