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Can Lyme affect the health of hooves???

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  • Can Lyme affect the health of hooves???

    This might be a stretch but I was wondering if anyone has experience with Lyme affecting the health of their horses hooves with little to no other lyme symptoms present? My horse is sound, happy and acting 100% normal in every other way.

    I live in an area that is lyme endemic. My gelding has been treated for lyme twice in the past 9 years. He has never been highly symptomatic (i.e.he did not exhibit much lameness, muscle soreness, grouchiness etc..) but the minor stiffness and laziness that cropped up went away with treatment. He tested extremely high on the ELISA titre and positive WB at the time. He was treated with IV Oxytet and 8 weeks of doxy. He had a cornell multiplex test last spring that tested negative.

    Right now he is dealing with a range of unusual foot issues For starters, he came down with hoof canker in one front foot over the winter. I had it debrided and it is healing quickly and luckily is only present in one foot. However, he has popped 3 quarter cracks in his hind hooves and the Vet who is treating the canker (who is also a farrier) noted that he has some odd horizontal rings/cracks that are often related to Selenium toxicity. I have never heard of a horse with selenium toxicity in this area ( CT) and he agreed it is unlikely but we pulled blood to test his levels. The vet confirmed that issues are not related to poor farrier work and I have had the same farrier for the past 7 years and these issues just cropped up in the last few months.

    I don't think it is diet related although I suppose it is possible. The horse gets ~ 1 lb of TC Senior total per day with a small amount of haystretcher to mix in supps. I recently added Glanzen 3 just for added minerals and hoof health in case he was lacking minerals from such a small amount of grain. He is on pasture 7 months out of the year and has unlimited grass hay 24/7 that is of nice quality. He is a very healthy weight and a super easy keeper in the environment he is in now.

  • #2
    Any *severe* illness can show up in the hooves as rings and temporary poor growth. But a smoldering disease with NO symptoms other than poor feet? I doubt it.

    Sometimes easy keepers get short-changed on the essential vitamins/minerals and amino acids they need. I would invest $20 in a 30-day subscription to Feed XL and plug in what he's getting in feed, supplements, and hay (you can use a generic type) and see if any deficiencies pop up.
    Click here before you buy.


    • #3
      YES, Lyme can definitely have a major impact on hooves. My mare had rock solid feet, never took a lame step, was barefoot for years until she got Lyme. Her original symptoms were some small cracks in her hooves and she was drop dead lame. She was on a 5 week doxy program but that wasn't enough, unfortunately some symptoms continue to persist 6 years later such as her horrible feet. They are chippy, cracked, weak, brittle, soft, limited growth, etc. Her walls are too weak to hold even the thinnest shoes. It's really frustrating.

      I have chronic lyme myself and it was an uphill battle to find a doctor to treat me so finding an equine expert has been impossible. I do wonder if we did a few more rounds of doxy if that would help my mare or not. In the meantime, I will continue to be vigilant about her hoofcare. She is out on grass 12 hrs/day then for the other 12 hrs she is on dirt with access to a matted and bedded stall. Bringing her in when it's rainy and muddy so her hooves can dry out really helps, and adding the supplement Focus HF to her feed has helped as well. Good luck!


      • #4
        Any health upset will show up in rings in the horse's hooves. Even a change between hay in the winter and grass in the summer will reveal a slight change in ridges and/or color.
        I have had great success using Horseshoer's Secret to strengthen my horse's hooves after trying at least 8 other products over the course of 5 years or more. For my horse, the combination of ingredients in this product seems to work.


        • #5
          Yes absolutely. The weird cracks in the hoofs are very common in Lyme Disease. I've seen it as have other farriers I know.