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UPDATE - NOT LYME "Testing" for lyme vs. "winter grumps" by giving bute?

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  • UPDATE - NOT LYME "Testing" for lyme vs. "winter grumps" by giving bute?

    Update 1/2/09 - Just got the Lyme titer results back and it's not Lyme - the vet said on the message "One to one-sixty" (I'm not sure what the numbers mean really)

    I've had Peppy on Ranitidine & Aloe Juice since Dec 12th and have noticed about a 50% improvement in behavior (no longer trying to bite, just puts ears back during grooming/tacking up). I'm going to take him off the Ranitidine now to see if he turns into a monster again.

    My saddle fits him well (custom flocked), so I don't know what else it would be besides wintery grumps.

    At least it's not Lyme!

    I'm wondering if anyone has "tested" for Lyme by giving bute to your horse to see if it makes any difference in their symptoms? Not to replace a blood test by the vet, but to confirm whether you should have the vet out to do the test - To differentiate between the symptoms being cause by pain (Lyme) or just the winter grumpies that a couple of horses at my barn get?

    Background: I've owned my 4 year old Appendix gelding since this past June. He was in Texas (his whole life) and is now in Connecticut with me. About a month ago (when it got cold) he started getting grumpy when I start grooming him and tacking him up. He will put his ears back and try to bite me. He does this when I rub his neck, brush him, put the saddle on his back, put the girth on, pick up a hoof, hook his blankets at his chest, pet his face, walk in front of his face... when I ride he is fine. No lameness, no other symptoms... after I ride he is not as grumpy. Maybe one ear back/bite attempt afterwards vs. when I'm grooming and tacking up he does it a lot.

    He has a custom saddle, fitted twice in the last couple of months by a very good saddle fitter. Had a chiro visit a couple months ago... (not because of this, but because of my ill-fitting old saddle, i wanted to make sure nothing was out of whack from it)... teeth floated in July or August... I tried the "rolaids/tums" test for a couple of days thinking maybe ulcers, no change in his mood. Eats great, finishes food, is in a perfectly happy mood ALL the time EXCEPT for when I'm grooming and tacking up (and after-ride brushing and untacking somewhat). He eats dinner after I ride him, is turned out until I get there in the evening after work.

    One of my trainer's horses who she has owned for years and years gets grumpy in the winter like this, another horse at the barn also has the winter grumps (they went through testing for everything under the sun and found absolutely nothing, this horse is fine in the summer, then once the cold hits she is grumpy). I'm wondering if he has the winter grumps, if it's Lyme, or if he just hates me and is a grump when I show up. Sooo I'm wondering if I gave him bute, and he didn't show improvement, I could assume it's not from pain? And if he does show improvement, I could assume it's from pain? If he did improve with bute I would have the vet out to test for Lyme (and if that came back negative then go from there with tests) I don't know, I'm just guessing... so looking for some opinions!

    Sorry this is so long, just trying to give all the info.
    Last edited by LDavis104; Jan. 2, 2009, 10:55 AM.
    "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11

  • #2
    My thought is that a Lyme titer runs about $100 plus the vet call. In the grand scheme of things, that's not that much (not like scoping for ulcers, which can be quite pricey) to have an actual answer. (Though you can be really lucky and have one that comes back equivocal and STILL not have an answer... )

    All the bute tells you is that it's pain-related - could be Lyme, could be arthritis, could be something totally different. And if it IS ulcers, bute's just going to make it worse.

    I tend to think that winter "grumpiness" IS pain related - it's just often/usually more along the arthritis/scar tissue lines. *I* hurt more in the winter, and you can bet if you tried to groom and saddle me I'd be a bit cranky. (Heck, I was getting cranky just sitting in my chair in the office today! )

    If you feel like there's a problem, get a vet to check it out.
    Proud member of the EDRF

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Kementari View Post

      All the bute tells you is that it's pain-related - could be Lyme, could be arthritis, could be something totally different. And if it IS ulcers, bute's just going to make it worse.

      :
      That hit the nail on the head. You're not going to know WHAT it is, only that it's pain related. and if it is ulcers, ouch. What makes you think Lyme?
      and how much rolaids/tums did you give? I think giving GastroGuard or something similar would be more effective to find out if it's ulcers.
      Did you see this last year?

      Comment


      • #4
        My 5 year old TB is SUPER grumpy. Nippy, swishy, stompy whilst grooming, inside-out and wretched whilst riding. Not to mention spooky and LEAPING like a bronc. These characteristics are new/hugely exaggerated for him. Usually he is soft and laid back. I'm going to have a lyme titre drawn next week. I'm also suspecting ulcers but why now, when he's barely working, is out all day, etc.
        I'd skip the bute, for the reasons mentioned above.
        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by murphyluv View Post
          That hit the nail on the head. You're not going to know WHAT it is, only that it's pain related. and if it is ulcers, ouch. What makes you think Lyme?
          and how much rolaids/tums did you give? I think giving GastroGuard or something similar would be more effective to find out if it's ulcers.
          Did you see this last year?
          I've only owned him since June so I didn't get to see him last winter, but he was owned by my father in law who did not see any grumpy symptoms, BUT he was also in Texas, not Connecticut where it is much colder and Lyme central.

          The reason I suspect Lyme is that I'm in CT, where it seems like every horse has Lyme.

          I gave 10 rolaids for the test the first time, 12 the second time. If he did have ulcers, wouldn't he show some other symptoms like not finishing feed or something along those lines?

          If I did ulcerguard or something like that, how much until I would see a difference (if it were ulcers)?

          What gets me is that he is fine outside... in his stall... in the indoor, etc... only is grumpy in the barn aisle or wash stall (but that's where I groom him and tack him up).
          "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11

          Comment


          • #6
            I was under the impression Lyme would *not* respond to NSAIDS, that's why one would give it.. because if symptoms/ soreness was attributable to arthritis, injury, etc. you'd see an improvement. If not, then Lyme is the suspect.

            Since your horse isn't lame per se, I'm not sure the bute would be very helpful anyway. Plus, if you're already suspecting mild ulcers/ stomach issues, the bute definitely WOULD make that condition worse. IMHO, best to pull blood for lyme titer/ western blot/ elisa.

            Also, if you suspect ulcers, quit froggin' around with Rolaids. Get the vet to give you a bottole of Ranitidine. Use it for a month. If you notice the horse is less irritable, calmer, you're onto something.

            My horse exhibited very mild ulcer symptoms, scoped him and all they found was 'mildly denuded epithilium', and put him on Ranitidine. It helped.. in just 2 weeks my horse was a much nicer guy to be around & ride..

            Comment


            • #7
              Hey LDavis! I heard about your new horse from LookinSouth, and I'm glad it seems to be working out well... aside from the grumpiness, that is

              You could try UlcerGard, but you'd need to use it for a few days before seeing a difference, especially on a horse with such relatively mild symptoms, and it's expensive -- depending on the vet, 3-4 days of Ulcergard would equal getting a Lyme titre pulled. With Lyme, it's just better to test than wait for new symptoms to show up. My mare's only symptom at the moment is appearing as a stifle injury. I've never seen Lyme show up so specific (usually shows as polyarthritic, so off and on lameness of many joints). She has no other symptoms, other than an increased grumpiness. We pulled a titre, and it's the highest my NY vet has ever seen (I misquoted 450 or so to LookinSouth the other day, but my vet told me this a.m. it was closer to 500). When she was treated a few years ago down near you in CT (this is the same mare I think you saw once over at LookinSouth's), Dr. Anderson at Salem Valley said she had the highest titre he had ever seen. Her only symptom then was grumpiness. I also treated my gelding when we lived there, although he had a number of typical symptoms - including grumpiness and relative disinterest in everything. Anyhow, my point is that as you know, that area is a hotbed for Lyme disease. I think almost every horse I knew down there was treated for Lyme at some point. You're going to go through more money playing around to figure out what it is then you will to just have the titre pulled and know for certain.

              Good luck!
              Gentleman J - "Junior" - My been-there, done-that jumper

              Send Your Love - "Serena" - Aug 10th 2009, Rest in Peace

              Comment


              • #8
                It seems like alot of horses have come down with Lyme this year. I just finished treating South last month, my landlords horse is currently being treated, now veebug22's mare has it, poor peppy sounds as though he is a likely candidate and I recently heard from Zachary's mom that HE has the telltale symptoms as well and is getting tested on Thur. Dealing with lyme is definitely one of the downsides of living in this region, although I think it is becoming more widespread in recent years too.

                I think just going for the lyme test is your best bet at this point as well. Be sure to get the WB and the ELISA titre, rather than just the ELISA titre since the Western Blot actually indicates whether an active infection is present. Some vets will only offer the titre if you don't request the WB. It will be a bit more money for both but it is a more conclusive test.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It wouldn't hurt to do a Lyme test.

                  My OTTB is a little grumpy in the winter. Just doesn't look as happy and will randomly pin his ears...or he gets a bit lazy when riding. He's fine once he is warm.

                  I saw this last winter and had him tested for every thing on god's green earth.

                  We couldn't find a dang thing wrong. He was very healthy and we settled on him being a winter grump. Even though he stays warm and is very hairy he does not like the cold.

                  When a 50° day comes along I can even notice a difference in his attitude then. But whenever it goes to 30° or below for a few days he gets a little depressed and grumpy. Once spring hits he's good as new lol.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    *waving to Veebug22 and LookinSouth*

                    I'm going to go ahead and get Peppy tested for Lyme. There's a boarder mare out there who we're also suspecting Lyme in, so at least we can share the trailering cost or farm call fee.

                    I've had him on Ranitidine since Friday to "test" for ulcers, and he has been *slightly* better the last couple of days but definitely still grumpy. Could also be the ups/downs of Lyme, who knows. But apparently if what's going on makes no sense at all, it's very possibly Lyme!
                    "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Agreed.

                      From personal experience, I can tell you that if you suspect Lyme, please do not adopt a "wait and see" approach or try medication. It's a tricky disease and needs to be nipped in the bud before it causes real damage.

                      I know the test is a bit expensive (I think I paid 80$) but it's very much worth it.

                      Good luck. I hope the horse is ok.

                      Originally posted by Kementari View Post
                      My thought is that a Lyme titer runs about $100 plus the vet call. In the grand scheme of things, that's not that much (not like scoping for ulcers, which can be quite pricey) to have an actual answer. (Though you can be really lucky and have one that comes back equivocal and STILL not have an answer... )

                      All the bute tells you is that it's pain-related - could be Lyme, could be arthritis, could be something totally different. And if it IS ulcers, bute's just going to make it worse.

                      I tend to think that winter "grumpiness" IS pain related - it's just often/usually more along the arthritis/scar tissue lines. *I* hurt more in the winter, and you can bet if you tried to groom and saddle me I'd be a bit cranky. (Heck, I was getting cranky just sitting in my chair in the office today! )

                      If you feel like there's a problem, get a vet to check it out.
                      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                      -Rudyard Kipling

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Update in original post - it's not Lyme
                        "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OK, you "know" it is not Lyme.
                          What does the vet think the other possibilities are?

                          For suspected ulcers, my vet tests by giving sucralfate. For a variety of reasons, it isn't a long term treatment. But for a short term diagnostic, it works pretty well. Two days after we started the sucralfate, Belle's attitude turned around 180 degrees.
                          Janet

                          chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LDavis104 View Post
                            Update in original post - it's not Lyme
                            Just curious if your vet ran a Western Blot AND an ELISA and were other tick borne illnesses tested for? False negatives are not uncommon (less so in equines than humans) but they do exist. Conformation of other tick borne illnesses combined with Lyme symptoms would be enough for your vet to make a clinical diagnosis of LD and begin treatment. From my personal experience with LD, most vets (and doctors) are not up to speed on it.....
                            Ridge Farm Inc.-full care retirement
                            http://www.horseretirementfarm.com

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by theoldgreymare View Post
                              Just curious if your vet ran a Western Blot AND an ELISA and were other tick borne illnesses tested for? False negatives are not uncommon (less so in equines than humans) but they do exist. Conformation of other tick borne illnesses combined with Lyme symptoms would be enough for your vet to make a clinical diagnosis of LD and begin treatment. From my personal experience with LD, most vets (and doctors) are not up to speed on it.....
                              No, just the titer was run...
                              "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11

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