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Lymes 101? Input wanted!

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    Lymes 101? Input wanted!

    So my beautiful, hunky, muscled, thoroughbred showjumper lost a ton of weight, loss of appetite, SO much muscle and had an odd lameness in his stifle in a matter of a week. Immediately called the vet and just got the results yesterday stating he tested positive for lymes. Just administered first dose of doxy last night. Has already had a magnawave treatment and will continue biweekly to help with discomfort. Basically, I'd love some tips, tricks and information that would help keep my guy comfortable, keep him from sustaining long-term damage, and how I can get him to bounce back to training fit. Supplements, particular treatments and exercises?

    *i'm sure I can search through the forums for all sorts of things but I'd love a collective list of suggestions

    #2
    Well for starters it is Lyme not Lymes, I know that part is confusing. Most vets do not recommend doxy anymore, the go to is minocycline or IV oxytet at least in the first month or so. Hope he makes a complete recovery and this is just a bad memory
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

    Comment


      #3
      Agree with Laurierace on the current thinking. Vets in my area prescribe minocycline rather than doxy these days. I haven't used IV Oxytet but it is used by some vets also.

      In any case, it's a good idea to give probiotic supplement as a follow up to repopulate the gut flora. Some folks use probiotics throughout the treatment and afterwards but I have given it only as a follow up.

      In my experience, if the treatment is working you will see improvement after about ten days. Continue the full course of treatment per your vet, of course.

      Comment


        #4
        So my horse was diagnosed with chronic Lyme in May 2019. He was 3700 on the Cornell test. We did one month of doxy, and it was life changing for him. I did have to re treat him in December 2019. I opted for doxy again, but looking back I wish I had done the minocycline. It's a lot more effective than the doxy, although it's more expensive. I decided if I have to treat him again, he's getting the mino.

        With the first round, I noticed a difference about two weeks into treatment. Second round of treatment, I noticed within a few days. I'm not sure why because his symptoms weren't nearly as severe as the first time around. His main symptoms were being very inconsistent under saddle. One day he was a quiet kick along pony, the next day he was a hot mess even for basic things (trotting a crossrail, for example.) He presents as very arthritic/resistant/uncomfortable, getting really wound up and beside himself due to pain/soreness.

        People recommended vitamin E supplementation. I started giving it to him over the winter (and will continue doing so in non-grazing months when he's getting hay and not grass.) They say a natural vit E supplement is better than a synthetic or a synthetic/natural mix, but I'm happy with the synthetic/natural mix one I bought. It packed the most IUs per serving so it wasn't terribly expensive. I also have him on a liquid HA supplement (Hyaluronex) because his main symptom is arthritis. He also gets regular joint injections because even without the Lyme dx, he does have arthritic changes and requires some maintenance.

        Something that is tricky with Lyme is how vague it is and how it seems to come and go. It can take you down a sneaky spiral of assuming every physical issue is Lyme, so you'll overlook other issues and treating them appropriately because you will think it's a Lyme issue. The symptoms are so irritating and hard to pin down.

        Good luck with your horse, Lyme is a pain in the rump roast (but is usually manageable.)

        Comment

          Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by skipollo View Post
          So my horse was diagnosed with chronic Lyme in May 2019. He was 3700 on the Cornell test. We did one month of doxy, and it was life changing for him. I did have to re treat him in December 2019. I opted for doxy again, but looking back I wish I had done the minocycline. It's a lot more effective than the doxy, although it's more expensive. I decided if I have to treat him again, he's getting the mino.

          With the first round, I noticed a difference about two weeks into treatment. Second round of treatment, I noticed within a few days. I'm not sure why because his symptoms weren't nearly as severe as the first time around. His main symptoms were being very inconsistent under saddle. One day he was a quiet kick along pony, the next day he was a hot mess even for basic things (trotting a crossrail, for example.) He presents as very arthritic/resistant/uncomfortable, getting really wound up and beside himself due to pain/soreness.

          People recommended vitamin E supplementation. I started giving it to him over the winter (and will continue doing so in non-grazing months when he's getting hay and not grass.) They say a natural vit E supplement is better than a synthetic or a synthetic/natural mix, but I'm happy with the synthetic/natural mix one I bought. It packed the most IUs per serving so it wasn't terribly expensive. I also have him on a liquid HA supplement (Hyaluronex) because his main symptom is arthritis. He also gets regular joint injections because even without the Lyme dx, he does have arthritic changes and requires some maintenance.

          Something that is tricky with Lyme is how vague it is and how it seems to come and go. It can take you down a sneaky spiral of assuming every physical issue is Lyme, so you'll overlook other issues and treating them appropriately because you will think it's a Lyme issue. The symptoms are so irritating and hard to pin down.

          Good luck with your horse, Lyme is a pain in the rump roast (but is usually manageable.)
          Thank you so much. If he has another flare up or doesn't respond to the doxy, then I'll definitely opt for the mino. I'll have to reintroduce these supplements since he's been on them in the past. The vet doesn't think hes shows the need for injections YET but I'm sure thats in his near future.

          Comment


            #6
            Lyme disease is very tricky. It could be that one round of antibiotics will knock it out, or it could be a long-haul. And I would totally agree that once you've dealt with it, you begin to see it lurking behind every off step, every grouchy or touchy response, etc. And that, of course, is the problem because Lyme could indeed be to blame. Or maybe not.

            My previous horse, a TB mare, was diagnosed with Lyme the first time in 2003, which was about a year after she began showing symptoms. That delay was caused by the fact that at that time, many vets didn't think that Lyme was a problem for horses. Hah!

            Anyway, the longer the horse had the disease without being diagnosed, the more difficult it is, usually, to knock it out.

            Vitamin E is definitely something to consider supplementing, and you might want to consider a good feed-through joint supplement as well. I fed one that had a high amount of HA in it because my horse seemed to respond well to it. You may have a different experience.

            Good luck.
            "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

            Comment


              #7
              Thank you Laurierace for correcting Lymes -- for some reason, that drives me crazy. mad.equestrian , does your vet have your horse on a six-week course of Doxy? If not, you might want to ask if he/she will authorize the longer course. Also, you will see improvement quickly, but it is due to the anti-inflammatory effect of the doxy. When you go off of it, you will often see a worsening of the symptoms so don't be discouraged by that. Also, I find it takes about six months for the titers to go back down to a normal level. So, if you retest earlier, as long as there is some improvement, again do not be discouraged. What was his titer level by the way?

              Comment


                #8
                Six weeks of mino; added probiotic after one week and continued it. Retested after 3 months after mino was finished, and titers looked great.
                I now test every year, just in case. So far, so good, after four years.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Maythehorsebewithme View Post
                  Six weeks of mino; added probiotic after one week and continued it. Retested after 3 months after mino was finished, and titers looked great.
                  I now test every year, just in case. So far, so good, after four years.
                  That's what I did with mine. I also retest him once a year.
                  As is our confidence, so is our capacity. ~W. Hazlitt

                  Comment


                    #10
                    7-10 days of IV Oxytet, followed by Minocycline. Retest with spring vaccines every year, or whenever you suspect an issue.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I retest every six months and keep a graph of how the titer is trending.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        One of the reasons I only test once a year is that where I live there are no ticks.
                        He contracted Lyme when he went to Europe to compete.
                        As is our confidence, so is our capacity. ~W. Hazlitt

                        Comment


                          #13
                          My gelding had Lyme in 2010 when doxy was what everyone used. It is still used. The central nervous system can be infected and apparently one (or more) drug does a better job for neurological infections versus the more common symptoms such as lameness, stiffness, weight loss, etc.

                          The BO noted a little bit of "offness" that wandered from limb to limb. The vet was there for something else so she had him pull blood rather than do a SNAP test. She was right. Vet prescribed compounded doxy that had a bit of peppermint whiff to it. Twice a day dosing for 6 weeks. Fortunately there was a woman at the barn who covered the evening dose and I did the morning on the way to work. He missed one dose which was my fault. The one amusing note is that he has always been the alpha. My friend realized early on that all she needed to do was stick the grain bucket through the fence. He ate in peace because no one would challenge him.

                          I think the 6 weeks made a difference. He felt much better about a week or so from the first dose. In reading so many posts over the years I think that many people have stopped the drugs too soon. The BO's oldest son was diagnosed several years ago and they went to a Lyme specialist. The MD asked what she knew about it, and she thought plenty because of the horses. Turns out there was way more info for humans, some of which she felt may be relevant for horses. The med cycle was on two weeks, off two weeks for 3 cycles. If you don't kill all the organisms they burrow into tissues and can reemerge and infect again.

                          We all figure that if you tested most of the horses on the farm they would be positive because it is endemic here in Maine. The biggest change is Cornell's test that can determine whether it is acute or chronic. That wasn't available 10 years ago. I haven't checked his titers because he has never shown any symptoms. He is a mostly white Paint and tick checks are a lot easier.
                          "With hardly any other living being can a human connect as closely over so many years as a rider can with her horse." Isabell Werth, Four Legs Move My Soul. 2019

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I've always felt that that the ideal was at least 3-5 days of IV tetracycline, for instantaneous blood level, followed by a month of doxy, or mino. If you can get more days of IV tet, you get quicker results.
                            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              So my friend's horse just tested positive for Lyme, off the charts apparently, sounds like he has had it for quite a while.

                              The vet told her that his titers will probably always show Lyme now and not to freak out about it, and that now that he has had it he can't get it again.

                              He also tested positive for EPM but had already fought it off or something, so now he apparently can't get that either?

                              Has anyone heard this? I've never heard that they can't get reinfected.

                              At any rate, my horse has lived in the same areas so I got the vet to pull blood on her for Lyme just in case, waiting to hear about that.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Of course they can get reinfected. That's absurd for a vet to say they can't be reinfected.

                                Here's a discussion of Lyme disease that includes a brief discussion of the possibilities of animals being reinfected on the Cornell vet school website:

                                https://www.vet.cornell.edu/animal-h...y/lyme-disease
                                "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by RainWeasley View Post
                                  So my friend's horse just tested positive for Lyme, off the charts apparently, sounds like he has had it for quite a while.

                                  The vet told her that his titers will probably always show Lyme now and not to freak out about it, and that now that he has had it he can't get it again.

                                  He also tested positive for EPM but had already fought it off or something, so now he apparently can't get that either?

                                  Has anyone heard this? I've never heard that they can't get reinfected.

                                  At any rate, my horse has lived in the same areas so I got the vet to pull blood on her for Lyme just in case, waiting to hear about that.
                                  Time for a new vet. Horses can absolutely get Lyme or EPM again. There is a thought for Lyme with both people and horses that not everyone gets rid of Lyme it just goes in remission and either stress or re-exposure can cause it to flare.

                                  I have known 2 horses that had EPM that was successfully treated and a few years later got it again. In both cases the horses could not be treated again and were euthanized.
                                  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)

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by SonnysMom View Post

                                    Time for a new vet. Horses can absolutely get Lyme or EPM again. There is a thought for Lyme with both people and horses that not everyone gets rid of Lyme it just goes in remission and either stress or re-exposure can cause it to flare.

                                    I have known 2 horses that had EPM that was successfully treated and a few years later got it again. In both cases the horses could not be treated again and were euthanized.
                                    Thats what I had thought, I have no experience with Lyme though so I didn't want to say anything to her until I knew for sure. Although knowing her, I have a feeling she just completely misunderstood what he said, she has done that in the past.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      FYI there is a vaccine for Lyme. If the horse is already infected, one treatment method (after initial 4-6 weeks) for a stubborn case is to treat doxy or mino for 90 days and vaccinate at day 30 and day 60. As a layperson, my understanding of the explanation is that the Lyme spirochetes can 'hide' in the body and the vaccination stimulates them to come out, if done while treating then you have a better chance of actually killing it off.
                                      Forward...go forward

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Alpha Mare do you mind pm-ing me your vet's name? I am also in Chester Co. and my vet was not familiar with using the Lyme vax on horses when I asked her about it this spring. Last winter, I went to a talk by a senior vet in Zoetis's Tech Services who said they did not have one for horses, just dogs. It could be used on horses, but was not labeled as such since they found three doses were needed. They were trying to develop a one or two dose version since people did not like three doses. Anyway, I would love to have my vet talk to your vet.

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