How Do Horses Get Lyme Disease
Lyme disease gets its name from the town where it was first identified as a unique syndromeLyme, Connecticutin 1975. The disease is caused by the spirochete bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, and is transferred to horses through infected ticks. There are several types of ticks that can transfer the bacterium, but the most common one is known as a deer tick .
To transfer the bacteria, the infected tick must bite the horse and, researchers believe, must stay attached to the horse for at least 24 hours to successfully transmit the bacteria to the horse. Horses do not transmit the disease to other horses.
Because the bacteria must be transferred via tick, the disease is common in tick-hospitable environments, such as woodsy areas.
Dr. SallyAnne DeNotta spent many years practicing in the Northeast United States where Lyme disease is well known, but now works as a clinical assistant professor of large-animal internal medicine at the University of Florida.
The thing to know about Lyme disease in horses, and people and dogs too, is that many, many horses will get infected with borrelia but never develop clinical signs, Dr. DeNotta says. So you can be exposed, you can be infected, you can develop antibodies and even an immunity to borrelia, but never actually have any negative effects that could be attributed to Lyme disease.
It is very common for a horse to show evidence of antibody levels in their blood, but to be completely asymptomatic and healthy.
Interpretation Of Lyme Multiplex Results1213
The Lyme Multiplex Assay is a fully quantitative test. It results in a numeric antibody value for each of the three B. burgdorferi antigens tested. A brief interpretation on each value is submitted with the test report. In addition, the antibody profile gives an advanced interpretation on the infection and vaccination status of the horse. Antibodies to OspA serve as markers for vaccination and those to OspC and OspF as markers for infection . In treated horses, quantitative antibody values are valuable indicators to follow-up on treatment success.
Figure 3:B. burgdorferi
How Can The Lyme Multiplex Assay Be Compared To Other Serological Lyme Assays
Researchers at the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University have compared the former ELISA/Western blot procedure and commercial C6- based assays with the Lyme Multiplex Assay12-14. Multiplex Assay OspF and C6 results highly correlate in infected or non-infected dogs12. In horses, comparisons of C6 results and Lyme Multiplex Assay OspF values showed that antibodies to OspF are more robust and the preferred infection markers in horses14. The Equine Lyme Multiplex Assay provides comprehensive information on the horses stage of infection and, in vaccinated horses, on the antibody status induced by vaccination.
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Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment
Many clinical symptoms in horses have been attributed to Borrelia burgdorferi infection, but it is not clear which symptoms are caused by the bacteria. Symptoms observed include lameness, uveitis, stiffness, and behavioral changes. Fever has been reported but is inconsistent and often absent. The disease can progress to involve the neurological system , potentially including ataxia and other neurological symptoms.
Treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotics, most frequently doxycycline or tetracycline. Earlier treatment is more successful in humans, and very likely for horses as well. However, Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose and may not be detected until long after the tick bite. Treatment with antibiotics is often helpful even in later stage Lyme disease, but it may take more intensive or longer treatment.
How Is Lyme Disease Spread
In New Jersey, Lyme disease is spread by the bite of either nymphs or adults of Ixodes scapularis, also known as the deer tick or blacklegged tick. Nymphs are present from early spring until the early summer, while adults are generally found during the fall. Thus, spring and fall are the times that horses are at greatest risk of exposure to Lyme disease. Infected ticks transmit Lyme disease while feeding, and the risk of transmission increases over time. Typically, transmission from the tick to the host takes between 36 and 48 hours. Lyme disease is strictly a tick-borne disease, and there are no other natural routes for transmission.
Figure 1: Dorsal view of an adult female of I.scapularis .
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What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and rarely, Borrelia mayonii, which is transmitted by the bite of infected ticks. On the east coast of the United States, the tick vector is Ixodes scapularis, whereas on the Pacific coast, Ixodes pacificus vectors the disease. The disease is transmitted to horses, humans, or other animals only through the bite of an infected tick.
Most Common Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Horses
Is there Lyme disease in horses? The first horse I was invited to help train and show on was a gorgeous grey thoroughbred was named Teddy. Teddy had tons of potential and was athletic and willing, just a little green around the edges.
Teddy began redeveloping from his lameness during my first year of working with him. Strangely, he sometimes would lag behind me at the end of a 10-foot lead rope when I brought him in from the field.
As a 17-year-old just getting started in the business, I had no idea. These were troubling symptoms of an all too common disease for equines: Lyme Disease.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease in horses can often disguise themselves as other common problems. When left untreated, it can have detrimental effects on the long term health of your horse.
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Lyme Disease Prevention In Horses
Lyme disease cannot be prevented, so offense is the best defense.
This involves making the horses environment as hostile to ticks as possible. This means mowing the pastures, removing debris and any other areas where ticks feel at ease.
We call it tick-scaping,’ Dr. DeNotta says. If you have pastures in an area where ticks can be found, remove the low-lying brush and woodsy areas. This will reduce tick exposure for your horse.
Sprays that repel ticks such as picaridin, DEET or permethrin can be helpful in deterring them. However, the best defense is to groom the horse. It takes 24 hours for bacteria to spread from a tick to a horse. If you can get rid of a tick in 24 hours, your horse will be healthier. You should schedule a time each day to thoroughly groom your horse, including his ears and tailhead.
Dr. DeNotta explains how to find the tick: Youll feel quite a big bump. You can become quite proficient at grooming your horse by doing it every day.
Horse owners have good news: Lyme disease, which is the most common type of Lyme disease, is easily treatable. Researchers are still trying to find out more, but prevention is a good way to protect your horse.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Horses
The range of specific clinical signs associated with Lyme disease in horses is not well established. The best documented syndromes associated with Lyme disease include neuroborreliosis, uveitis, and cutaneous pseudolymphoma. Other associations that are plausible but not well documented include stiffness, intermittent or shifting-limb lameness, poor performance, arthritis, fever, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, fatigue/depression, and behavioral changes.
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How To Prevent Lyme
Although its difficult, the best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid ticks and blood-sucking insects. An environmentally friendly farm with good manure handling can help keep biting insects away. Guinea hens love to eat ticks, and chickens can also do a fair job. If you live in the woods, these birds may be the only way to keep the tick population down.
No Lyme vaccines have been approved for horses and many veterinarians, including myself, see many problems in horses after using the dog vaccine. It does not seem to work, and horses who have been vaccinated often seem to become chronically sick with Lyme, especially if they were infected before receiving the vaccine.
In the end, a healthy immune system is the most important way you can protect your horse from Lyme disease.
Treatment Approach No Quick Fix
There is no magic bullet for treating chronic LD cases. The best approach is a multisystemic one, using a combination of conventional, complementary, and alternative medicine. Successful treatment includes support for the immune system, not just during the immediate treatment period but over the long term. Due to the Lyme spirochetes ability to recur, the immune system must be prepared to respond at a moments notice.
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How To Recognise Lyme Disease In Horses
In the horse, Lyme disease can cause a variety of illnesses and mimic numerous different diseases, which makes it difficult to diagnose just by an examination.
The signs include:
- The affected horse is often depressed and has a temperature.
- The horse will go off its food and can rapidly lose weight.
- Arthritis is frequently found, and horses are often lame on more than one limb, with swellings in numerous joints.
- The whole of one or more legs will often be extremely swollen.
- The horse will occasionally show signs of eye pain.
- Sporadically, the disease can affect the horses brain, causing behavioural changes, paralysis and other nervous disorders.
- The disease is rarely fatal, except occasionally in foals, but it can cause long-term effects in horses with arthritis or brain problems.
Your Horse And Dangers Of Lyme Disease
Newsdate: Tuesday, July 14, 2020, 11:57 amLocation: GILROY, California
Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose in horses, but it is a disease that horse owners should consider when a horse exhibits symptoms ranging from weakness, lameness, lack of appetite, and behavioral changes to kidney failure, heart disease or neurologic disorders. Treatment can be given as long as organ failure has not begun.
Two women enjoying a trail ride on their horses
Lyme disease should be considered when a horse exhibits symptoms ranging from weakness, lameness, lack of appetite, and behavioral changes to kidney failure, heart disease or neurological disorders.© 2017 by Julie Vader New window.
Many pet and horses owners do not see the ticks on their animals only to find out when tested that their horses are indeed positive for Lyme disease.This infectious disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and affects horses, humans and many other animals. While fewer cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed in cold winter areas, it is a disease that both horse owners and veterinarians need to consider throughout the year.
Veterinarians usually apply a process of elimination when investigating symptoms common to Lyme disease and other illnesses in horses.
Diagnosis in horses is further complicated by problems in detecting the spirochaetal bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is responsible for Lyme disease, in blood samples taken from horses.
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The Stages Of Lyme Disease Infection
- Early localized infection. This lasts 1 to 4 weeks and is characterized in humans by a bulls eye rash at the site of the tick bite which takes 3 to 30 days to appear. Unfortunately, this would be virtually invisible on a horse so early stages of infection will invariably be missed. The trend in human medicine, and a wise one IMO, is to treat with doxycycline at the first report of a tick bite, regardless of any symptoms, when in an endemic area for Lyme . Only a single dose is needed.
- Early disseminated Lyme. This means the organism has spread beyond the general vicinity of the tick bite. This stage begins weeks to months after the initial tick bite.
- Late disseminated Lyme. The disease enters this stage weeks, months or even years after the tick bite. It is associated with the most severe signs, in a variety of organ systems.
Recognizing that Lyme occurs in stages is important because it has been well established in humans that the longer the interval between infection and treatment, the more difficult to impossible it becomes to really cure the infection.
The only symptoms present in the early localized disease, other than the rash are very nondescript such as easily missed mild fever, aching, fatigue, transient swollen lymph nodes. The chances of detecting these in your horse are minimal. Even if the horse does seem off at some time, it is so nonspecific youre not likely to think Lyme.
Canine Ld Vaccines Being Used For Horses
There are no LD vaccines approved for the horse, so canine vaccines are used. Vaccination can be stressful to the immune system and has led to relapses. A recent study showed that all current canine vaccines produced only short-term responses in horses. It is important to note that many, but not all, of these horses have negative responses to other vaccines, such as rabies, West Nile virus, and others, once they have had LD.
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Does Wild Teasel Help In Treating Borreliosis
Wild teasel is often used as an effective healing plant in the treatment of borreliosis. The effect of teasel against Lyme disease-related complaints has not been scientifically proven, but is based on empirical values. In cases of borreliosis, wild teasel can be fed as supportive therapy following treatment with antibiotics to promote regeneration of the organism and stave off any long-term effects. For horses in which antibiotic treatment is not successful, wild teasel can represent an alternative that helps them feel better. A decision about an alternative therapy should always be made in consultation with your vet.
Lyme Disease Treatment In Horses
When left untreated, Lyme Disease can cause havoc on a horses whole body health. However, when caught and treated early enough, its detrimental effects will now be kept at bay. Most veterinarians will prescribe either IV or Oral antibiotics to combat the bacteria transmitted by infected ticks.
- Testing: If you recognize many of the above symptoms, you should contact your vet. They will likely do a few preliminary screenings to rule out other causes before testing for Lyme. Tests can come back negative within the first few weeks of exposure, and when that happens, it will be mandatory for you to retest your horse or pony, in case any symptoms persist and no other causes can be determined.
- Common Antibiotics: Oral Doxycycline or ceftiofur, IV Tetracycline
- Common Pain Relievers: Banamine is a common anti-inflammatory and pain reliever that some vets may prescribe in conjunction with antibiotics. Banamine will not treat the underlying cause of Lyme Disease but will ease some of the discomfort shown by the horse like in muscle soreness or swelling in the joints.
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Recovering The Horse With Epm And Lyme Disease Effectively
EPM and Lyme disease in the horse are extremely common, becoming more prevalent as time goes by unfortunately. Vaccination is ineffective and medications often leave much to be desired regarding results. To effectively manage and even prevent EPM, Lyme, or other infectious conditions in the horse, it is paramount to boost their immune response like never before. This strategy, by itself or coupled with standard medication therapies, can make all the difference between a non-responding horse and one that excels like never before.
In truth, the reason a horse contracts EPM, Lyme, Influenza, Herpes or any other infectious health condition is because they are compromised. This usually means their immune system is not up to par and is weak, thus leaving a door open for bacteria, viruses, and other parasites to enter, then set up shop, creating clinical disease.
Why is their immune system not up to snuff? Many reasons, but usually stress is at the root, followed by poor nutrition, and other inflammatory chronic health ailments.
Lyme disease in the horse is quite similar regarding course of therapy. Diagnostic tests can cost thousands, followed by months of antibiotic therapy, which again more times than not provides little results for the horse. In most instances, the horse continues to deal with body soreness, inflammation, and flare ups during times of stress.
Both Lyme and EPM in the horse can be very difficult to completely eradicate. Why?
Antibiotics May Be Needed
Antibiotics can be useful, especially in freshly diagnosed horses. Repeated rounds of antibiotics, or usage for two to three months or more, usually produces resistance but is detrimental. It is better to change to herbs and keep the spirochete guessing. The use of antibiotics suppresses the immune system in the gut, so the rest of the plan needs to support the horses immunity.
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The Disease In Humans
Acute LD is typically manifested by an expanding erythematous skin lesion. Late manifestations may include arthritis, acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans, lymphocytoma, myocarditis, conjunctivitis, uveitis, and neurological signs.1919 Stanek G, Wormser GP, Gray J, Strele F. Lyme borreliosis. Lancet. 2012 379:461-473.
In addition, studies conducted in the Laboratory of Rheumatology of the Clinical Hospital of the School of Medicine, University of São Paulo showed the occurrence of microorganisms with morphological structures similar to Mycoplasma spp., Chlamydia spp., and non-flagellated spirochetes in the peripheral blood of patients with BYS who were seropositive for B. burgdorferi sensu lato. However, those patients exhibited negative serology for Mycoplasma spp. and Chlamydia spp., suggesting a morphological difference between B. burgdorferi sensu lato and the Brazilian microorganism identified as the possible causative agent of BYS.2828 Yoshinari NH, Mantovani E, Bonoldi VLN, Maragoni RG, Gauditano G. Doença de Lyme-símile brasileira ou síndrome Baggio-Yoshinari: zoonose exótica e emergente transmitida por carrapatos. Rev Assoc Méd Bras. 2010 56:363-369. Because motile and spiral spirochetes were never isolated or cultured in Brazil, researchers from LIM-17 assumed that the etiological agent in Brazil was present in cystic form.