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Advice on keeping your horse going when you have just been diagnosed with Lyme

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  • Advice on keeping your horse going when you have just been diagnosed with Lyme

    Apparently the stiff back and knee and shoulder issues I've noticed lately were not due to a killer schedule at work. I pulled a tick off my horse's tail Thursday night, and the next day the penny dropped: the tick, the suspicious red/rash/bruise? that was clearing in the center, and the joint stiffness.

    I am now on doxycycline for a month, but I think between the doxy and the symptoms I am not going to be at my best. Wednesday I was trying to free lunge my horse and the whip just felt so heavy - and it hasn't before, so clearly I am not moving the way I would like to be.

    Do any of you have suggestions on light(er) workouts - in saddle, or not - simple exercises where I can still try and improve (or at least maintain) my horse's suppleness? He's 18, and this spring and summer have been very piecemeal for many reasons, and I don't want to lose where we are now.


    PS I will be working in the evenings anyway, when it's cooler, to avoid the sun.
    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

  • #2
    I'm glad that you caught it early-- your symptoms will probably abate within two weeks of doxy. As far as ideas for workouts go, I can't really be of much help-- I'm struggling to keep my horse with kissing spines in work to keep his back as healthy as possible, and am trying to find someone to help exercise him. Some days I can't drag myself into the saddle but can handle longeing; others, longeing is beyond my capabilities but I can manage an half-hour suppling ride at the walk. And then there are days when I can't even bring him in and give him a thorough grooming. Take every day as it comes and listen to your body, and good luck with treatment!


    • Original Poster

      So I'm guessing the symptoms just don't fade away? Because my knees feel like they have grapefruits in them.
      a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


      • #4
        Since you seem to have caught it early, your symptoms probably will just fade away within a few weeks. You may still have flare-ups and good days before the symptoms are gone, though. I was probably infected close to 12 years before being diagnosed and treated, so I'm looking at a long course of antibiotics and lots of flare-ups before I'm as good as I'm going to get.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for the feedback! I will be more aware.
          a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


          • #6
            My poor DG

            While I don't have Lyme, I literally feel your pain. Today my arms and legs feel as though I have spent hours on an ancient torture device. My body rebels in heat, humidity, cold, and when we have drastic weather changes!

            I am going to preface this post with the following: My horse is not lame. The vet has me riding him because it is good for his mind. I do not push him to the point of being sore.

            All Screech is able to do is walk with some little trot "laps" squeezed in. When Screech was on 100% lay up for his tendon, he looked like an old broodmare. He completely lost his topline and tush. I built him back up through mostly walk and a bit of trot.

            I do the following with Screech, but Ted is sound, so you can mix in some lunge and long line work...Screech and I walk, but he MUST be on the bit and be coming from behind. I do walk -halt-walk transitions. I ride on the quarter line to make sure Screech is between my aids. We do figure 8's and serpentines, along with the occasional walk pirouette. I do "walks within my walk" ie. I get Screech as slow as I can, then we power on in a forward, swinging walk. I practice free walk and rein back, too.

            The Screech workouts sound like nothing, but he and I are usually both sweaty. He is well muscled and happy. Our "walkabouts" do not strain Screech's tendon and I am usually no more sore when I finish then I was when I started.

            I think you do a lot . You have the load of 2 people. You need to decide which things are priorities and which activities to let go of. I know you enjoy yoga and pilates, but if you drop them for a little while, you can still do Mr. Ted duty and get some extra rest. JMHO!


            • #7
              Aw, DG, what crappy news. Just be glad you caught it early-- several of my family members were misdiagnosed for so long that when it *was* finally identified, it had progressed to them having neurologic symptoms.

              I think there are several posters in the forum w/ experience with human Lyme and horse-ness, the one that comes to mind first is GallentQuest. Hopefully she'll chime in here soon with some good advice for you.

              Best of luck with the Doxy regimen, it's a butt-kicker.


              • Original Poster

                Yes, but the good news is that it kills your appetite...I've already started losing weight! If I get lucky I could get a 10 lb weight loss out of this, so not all bad!
                a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                • #9
                  I'm glad you caught it early. I had it a while back, and literally remember my joints and muscles hurting so badly that I didn't want to move, and didn't want anybody to touch me. Luckily, after the treatment with doxycycline all of my symptoms went away except for some mild paralysis of one of my facial nerves, which gave me a slight speech impediment and a crooked smile. Other than that, I have had no lasting effects. Hopefully you will be as lucky.

                  Oh, and remember to take the doxycycline with food.

                  For your horse, is there anybody that can give him a light workout? I imagine, though, that you will be back in the saddle in two weeks or so. Best of luck to you.


                  • #10
                    Geek, how's treatment going? Feeling better yet?

                    Side note: doxycycline is actually absorbed better when taken on an empty stomach, so should be taken thus if tolerated. If it has to be taken with food, avoid foods containing much calcium as it binds with doxy and limits absorption.


                    • #11
                      Geek, I just saw this. I hope everything is going well. Being sick like that really sucks. Lyme was one of the things I was tested for before getting diagnosed with FM. I hope you have a speedy recovery (and lose the 10 pounds!).
                      Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
                      Bernard M. Baruch


                      • Original Poster

                        Well, the good news is, the doxy (halfway through) is working. I still have joint inflammation but it is less, and I have figured out how to tolerate the antibiotics. To stay out of our blinding sun, I just stay in lab all day, then go out to the barn later, and the weather has been so disgusting that no one else is riding anyway.

                        So, the good news!
                        (1) I lost 5 lbs
                        (2) I am getting work done and fretting much less about deadlines

                        Thanks for asking! The Western test did come back positive, and now I will be uber alert about ticks and such!
                        a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                        • #13
                          Hey, Wendi,
                          You and I just need to go away to some cool location to recover for a while! Sorry I have missed you calls this weekend, I will call you later this morning!
                          Lori T
                          www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep


                          • Original Poster

                            DON'T I WISH!!!

                            at least I didn't miss any riding time, since no one could ride in this beastly weather. I go out, hose him off, hose off his wash boots, scritch, put on the fan, scritch, and read the grants for the upcoming review panel.

                            Last night there was a power outage in lab due to the heat, an ultra cold freezer went down, I was SO grateful I was there!! Have salvage operations ongoing. And it ended up late enough I brought Chinese takeout to the barn, it stayed hot in the car, and I ate it in front of a fan while Ted munched hay.
                            a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                            • #15
                              So sorry to hear about you having lyme disease. One of the biggest things you need to do is keep track of how you feel. If the doxy starts making you very ill (throwing up etc) you need to tell your doc RIGHT AWAY. If you are throwing up a ton then the meds can not do their job. Sadly that is what happend to me and I have been battling lyme for the last 5yrs. Right now I currently am on 2 IV meds. Trust me you do not want to get to that point. If your doctor does not listen to how you feel find another one.

                              I did a lot of long lining with my young horses when i got sick, that helped keep them going when I was to ill to ride. I also did a lot of lunging.

                              Becareful in this heat on those meds. They will make you very ill if you are not careful. Also do not drink alcohol. I learned that the hard way!

                              (Oh by the way I use to be GaellentQuest, long story now this is my user name)


                              • Original Poster

                                Well, I am finally off the doxy. I stayed inside to avoid the sun issues (and we've been having extensive heat waves), and played around with what I ate and when I ate for the very reasons you mentioned. The joints are still iffy but the range of motion is getting better so I am just doing what I can do.

                                On the other hand...lots got done on grants and papers!
                                a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                                • #17
                                  I just started back on the Doxy last night. On 6/1/10 I went to the hospital with a fever of 102, stiff neck, thumbprint sized rash on my neck/head and a killer headache. At the time they tested me for spinal meningitits, Epstein-Barr, Lyme, and a few others. Everything came back negative. Because of the rash they put me on doxy for 12 days. Lyme retest is high enough that I am back on doxy for 3 weeks.
                                  I have not been having symptoms. Maybe a little tired but I have been staying up way to late anyway.

                                  Last time I was on doxy I got the light sensitivity in that anywhere the sun touched my skin. It would make my really warm feeling. I as so not looking forward to being back on doxy.
                                  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)


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Hope you feel better soon!!!
                                    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                                    • #19
                                      I just saw this thread, but wanted to comment on the lunge whip issue. I've also noticed that sometimes that whip feels so darn heavy, and it's usually just because I'm tired that day.

                                      One time when my lunge whip went walkabout, I grabbed my dressage whip instead. My horse responded the same as if I were using that big heavy lunge whip! You just have to wave it like you mean it.

                                      Also, the farm store in my town sell these funny little mini-lunge whips that are shorter and much lighter than the real ones, but still have the extra-long lash. I don't know if they're meant for 4H kids or what, but I love them. Plus, they're only about $10. That might be another option.

                                      Best of luck to all of the Lyme folks - get better soon!


                                      • #20
                                        I too just seen this tread.....I found out about my lyme about 4 months ago I guess. Did the antibiotics.....still hurt though....I still managed to ride through the meds though i really had no engery when I got done and the barn chores suffered...lol....good luck!