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Lyme disease

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  • Lyme disease

    Hi, I am just wondering how Lyme disease has manifested itself in your horses. What were the symptoms, how effective was treatment? Any cases that were not cureable? Anyone hear of/see a case of systemic Lyme lead to muscle wasting and/or neuro symptoms (most interested in muscle wasting)? I've done a ton of research but am curious what your experiences have been...Thanks!

  • #2
    OP: I know of two situations; the first was a PSG level mare who was lethargic and didn't want to move off the rider leg. Test was inconclusive but they ran her thru a course of doxycycline and she has been fine since.

    The second horse I dont know how she presented, but she also was put on antibiotics and is now fine.

    I'm wondering re my old horse (see current thread on old horse, hind end issues) as some of what's going on w/ him seems to be possibly neurological and his discomfort has apparently moved around - hocks, stifles, possibly front lower joints, now maybe back. Lyme is one of the possibilites I'm going to discuss w/ my vet tomorrow...
    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

    Comment


    • #3
      There are numerous threads on this subject if you do a Search.

      Lyme can manifest itself in a multitude of ways...from skin senstivity, "rotating" lameness from limb to limb, as well as neurological symptoms.

      It's a nasty and frustrating thing and more prevalent in equines in recent years.

      I would suggest that you do a search as so many of us have posted so many time, we're tired of posting replies...

      You'll learn a lot.
      www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
      "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
      Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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      • #4
        My horse was diagnosed with Lyme about 10 days ago.

        The first thing that I noticed was "off" was he started to jump poorly like he couldn't get his front end off the ground. This is a horse that never touches a fence intentionally and he was knocking down 2'6" fences. He felt fine on the flat and showed no lameness.

        The second symptom was body soreness. He is a horse that doesn't like to be touched much but even for him, it was noticeable.

        I thought it was my saddle fit but when the saddle fitter arrived, he predicted lyme. Sure enough, he tested positive for it. I've kept him in very light work (long walks, some trotting and now some cantering) and he's starting to feel a lot better. He's supposed to stay on doxy for 6 weeks.
        Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
        EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks for your posts!

          I guess I should have given some more background! I actually have done a search on Lyme (and tons of other things), on this and other forums, in scientific journals, via google, etc. I haven't seen any information that would explain my mare's current clinical presentation (see my other thread for some background if you're interested: http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...ifle+procedure). I had someone else come out and look at her - they noted that in addition to her stifle issues and the decline in her condition with work, she has all-over, symmetrical muscle wasting. They really don't think the OCD is an issue seeing as there is no swelling and she's never really been 'lame.' They don't suspect EPM given her excellent coordination and appropriate responses to neuro exams, etc., so they suggested Lyme as a systemic infection that could produce her symptoms. I'm out of money (I've spent about $4,000 in the past 6 months on diagnostics, etc. with no real progress). This has been going on for over 2 years.

          So, as a last ditch effort to figure this out and help my girl, her breeder is paying for a 2 month cycle of doxy (we're testing this week, but my horse has a respiratory thing going on, so I originally had started her on doxy for that reason). The breeder is also testing her vitamin E levels to look for EDM, although they've never had a horse in their breeding program present with that. My mare's grandsire is not a stallion they've used before, so that is a possibility. I guess I'm specifically looking to see if anyone has seen/heard of symmetrical muscle wasting as a symptom of Lyme, and if so, how the horse responded to treatment after the disease had progressed to that point. Thanks!

          Comment


          • #6
            Bogie, not to contest what your vet is telling you, but if you search the threads on Lyme, most of us who have been through this ad nauseum will tell you that 90 days of Doxy is the protocal if you really want to knock it out without relapses...and that is only if you caught it and treated early.
            www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
            "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
            Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              I'm hoping that if it is Lyme, then after two months on doxy, I'll at least notice an improvement of some sort that will warrant continuing treatment...I kind of feel like I'm taking a stab in the dark here...

              Comment


              • #8
                We have actually treated 2 horses in my barn successfully by putting them on the doxy. They are back in full work and doing great. We were lucky to catch the lymes early. One of the mares however was not as lucky and nothing has seemed to work....we are not sure that all of of her symptoms are lymes related.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by seejp083 View Post
                  I'm hoping that if it is Lyme, then after two months on doxy, I'll at least notice an improvement of some sort that will warrant continuing treatment...I kind of feel like I'm taking a stab in the dark here...
                  I think if it is Lyme, you would see an improvement, yes.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sid View Post
                    Bogie, not to contest what your vet is telling you, but if you search the threads on Lyme, most of us who have been through this ad nauseum will tell you that 90 days of Doxy is the protocal if you really want to knock it out without relapses...and that is only if you caught it and treated early.
                    I will ask about that. I have no problem with treating for however long is needed.
                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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                    • #11
                      My mare has been diagnosed with lyme disease twice, 5 years apart. The first time she had on-again off-again hind end lameness and (eventually) sensitivity to touch and crabbiness. I spent a fair bit of money trying to get a diagnosis (including a bone scan), all of which turned up very little (which of course was informative in and of itself). This occurred at a moment when there was still some controversy over whether horses could even get lyme disease, which I think is why it took so long to get the right diagnosis. Eventually the vet did check for lyme and she was positive (although not off the charts); 90 days of doxy followed. In fact, though, she was much improved within 2 weeks of starting the doxy.

                      The second time, the mare was lethargic and started dropping weight. It was a pretty alarming amount of weight that included muscle loss. The lethargy and weight didn't respond to an increase in food, treatment for ulcers, powerpacking, etc. The vet again took blood and she was positive--again not off the charts but def. positive. 90 days of doxy followed. Within 10 days she was picking up weight again and seemed much brighter. That was three years ago and she's been fine since.

                      So, I suspect--and you should ask your vet--that she should begin to look and act better within the first couple of weeks after going on the doxy. However, you should also ask the vet about other treatments: there's a course of IV antibiotics which I believe is now the gold standard of treatment.

                      You probably will also want to bring a chiro or a massage therapist in because the muscle soreness can persist and the horse may also have messed itself up a bit in compensating for the pain that the disease causes.

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

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks Posting Trot! Glad your girl is doing well! I started mine on doxy on Tuesday (the IV treatment isn't as practical for me as I don't live at the farm and she doesn't have a stall where it could be administered, etc.). And, the doxy is what's been prescribed for her respiratory thing, so I figure we'll just start there and keep going for a few months lol. My girl doesn't seem to have lost weight, she's just lost muscle (it's hard to describe without sounding silly). She's not at all ribby, and I've not noticed any change in her body condition other than that her muscles lack any firmness (they are much less firm than my 20+yo TB's, and he's not in work at all). Was your girl ribby? Did you notice the weight loss as a symptom before she started losing muscle?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My mare definitely lost both weight and muscle (the second time she was infected; the first time she had no appreciable weight loss,\go figure). It was the weight loss plus the general lethargy that was truly alarming with her.

                          In fact, after she was diagnosed and started on the doxy, she became so much more alive and bright that I realized that she might have had a low-grade infection for some several weeks before I even noticed the symptoms.
                          "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Thanks for the info!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Most horses, when Lyme is caught early, have almost an immediate turn around once treatment starts. That's the rub though.

                              The original protocal was 30 days, but relapses were common (and not every vet in the field is "up" on that information).

                              The longer the disease goes untreated or the treatment is not administered long enough at the outset, the higher likelihood of latent Lyme that relapses -- especially when the immune system is stressed (i.e. becomes chronic).

                              If you can treat aggressively during the acute onset -- and for long enough -- the better chances you won't see symptoms again unless, of course, the horse is re-infected with a new case.

                              I've had 5 horses with this, so I'm pretty tuned up with what is effective. I would recommend getting a vet that is very proficient and has a lot of experience in treating Lyme.

                              Best of luck to you. It's a tricky bug that displays a myriad of symptoms that lead owners try to find out about and treat "obvious" anomolies in their horses' behavior or gaits -- when in fact the darned disease is the underlying cause and continues to progress.

                              Hate this disease because so many horses get diagnosed so late and treatment is just not as effective as treated early, and treated aggressively (long enough).
                              www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                              "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                              Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                This has certainly been a learning experience. Unfortunately, if this is in fact lyme (still don't have bloodwork), then it's likely been going on for over 2 years. Poor girl. And if it's not lyme, then something really serious is probably at work (not that lyme isn't serious, but it is often curable). Time will tell... :-(

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Most often we treat the clinical symptoms as if it was Lyme, as blood work can be inconclusive.

                                  Typically, I you start to see an improvement with the antibotic treatment, you can pretty much assume Lyme is the culprit.

                                  Hope this is of help. It's a frustrating experience, but I would recommend to treat for the clinical symptoms regardless of the bloodwork ... unless there is a neglible titre.
                                  www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                                  "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                                  Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Treatment of choice is 28 days of IV tetracycline as recommended by Cornell. You need to hit it hard.

                                    BTW, it has not been proven that Lyme is "curable". Far from it, as a matter of fact.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by sid View Post
                                      Typically, If you start to see an improvement with the antibotic treatment, you can pretty much assume Lyme is the culprit.
                                      Many vets I've talked to would disagree with this. The treatments will impact many infections and the anti-inflammatory properties of doxy also will generally help with any inflammation.

                                      I'd call Cornell and get the stats of the specificity and sensitivity of the multiplex test. My understanding was the ELISA Snap is very specific and I doubt they'd move to a less accurate one. The information on the website gives a good description of the multiplex assay and it provides a lot of good information, but I did not see the data on specificity and sensitivity for the new test. Specificity is probably very high. (Doesn't mean the sample wasn't mishandled, etc.).

                                      I personally wouldn't treat for Lyme with a negative test (I'd probably repeat the test though), but it's one of those things there's no clear cut answer. All you can do is what you think is best for your horse, and hope it is.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Lyme disease can be hard to diagnose because you may not have noticed a tick bite..
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