Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Horses
Many symptoms of Lyme disease are similar to symptoms of other diseases. Usually, a combination of symptoms is present when a clinical diagnosis is made.
The most common signs of Lyme disease reported in horses include:
- Muscle tenderness
- Weight loss and low appetite
- Behavioural changes or irritable mood
- Generalized Sensitivity
If your horse displays several of these signs and has had a likely exposure to ticks carrying B. burgdorferi, your veterinarian may conduct tests to rule out other diseases and to confirm Lyme disease.
Clinical symptoms of Lyme Disease and other diseases to rule out are outlined below.
Neuroborreliosis: Occurs when B. burgdorferi infects the central nervous system. Can present as:
- Behavioural changes
- Hyperesthesia: an increase in the sensitivity of the senses
- Ataxia: a lack of muscle control or coordination
- Trouble swallowing and respiratory distress
- Muscle atrophy and neck stiffness
These symptoms are similar to Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis and Viral Encephalitis which should be ruled out to confirm Lyme disease.
Uveitis: Presents with inflammation and/or discharge from the eyes. These symptoms are similar to Leptospirosis and Cutaneous lymphoma.
Cutaneous pseudolymphoma: Described as small masses on the skin where the tick attached to the horse.
If the horse is presenting with one of these symptoms and is positive for B. burgdorferi exposure, other tests can be done to confirm active infection.
Supplements That May Lend Support
Horses with Lyme Disease may benefit from supplements with ingredients that provide general wellness support such as omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and adaptogens — as well as support towards specific, affected areas. For example, horses that are displaying joint discomfort may appreciate traditional ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, HA, and MSM. Also look for turmeric, resveratrol, collagen, and various herbs. Muscle recovery can often use an assist from amino acids like lysine, methionine, threonine, and others. Both muscle and neurological systems may find value in the addition of Vitamin E. Also, digestive support from probiotics, prebiotics, and yeast during a course of antibiotics is regularly recommended to help maintain normal, healthy gastrointestinal function, as is reinforcement for gastric tissues under stress with ingredients like soothing herbs, soluble fiber, and buffering agents.
Caused By Ticks Lyme Disease Can Have Serious Consequences For Your Horse Protect Him By Arming Yourself With The Latest Information
Lyme disease has been on our radar for 40 to 50 years. It is now the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the US and Europe, and is also found in Asia, Australia and Canada. Since LD can be found in so many locations, it should be part of a rule-out list for horses when a diagnosis is not clear.
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Preventing Lyme Disease In Horses
There is no vaccine to prevent Lyme disease, so the best defense to protect against it is offense.
This means starting with the horses environment to make it as inhospitable to ticks as possible. This includes mowing pastures and removing brush, debris and other places ticks feel at home.
We call it tick-scaping, Dr. DeNotta says. If you have pastures and you live in an area where ticks are pandemic, then by removing the woodsy areas and low-lying brush, weeds and debris in your pastures, where ticks like to live and breed, you can reduce the tick populations that your horse is exposed to.
Applying sprays to the horse that repel ticks, like DEET, picaridin or permethrin, is also a helpful deterrent, but the other biggest defense is grooming the horse. Because it takes 24 hours to transmit the bacteria, if you can remove a tick in less than that time, it will increase your horses chances of staying healthy. Find a time to groom the horse thoroughly every single day, running your hands over every part of him, including the tail, tailhead and ears.
Youll feel a pretty big bump, Dr. DeNotta says of how to locate the tick. Grooming your horse every day, you can get pretty good at it.
The good news for horse owners is that the most common form of Lyme disease is very treatable. While researchers are working to discover more about the disease, prevention can go a long way to protecting your horse.
Lyme And Candida Overgrowth
Yeast overgrowth is a common concern for Lyme patients who undergo antibiotic therapy. Whether or not the Lyme or other bacterial pathogens are killed, the immune system is depleted, the body s beneficial bacteria is eradicated, and the body is almost guaranteed to be overrun with fungal pathogens. If one is cured of Lyme disease they will then have to rebuild their immune system . Most people dont know how to do this. If they did, they most likely would not have been susceptible to Lyme in the first place. But for those who do the Lyme treatment without successful elimination of Lyme now have to deal with a body that soon inundated with fungi.
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Treating Your Horse For Lyme: 4 Things You Should Know
So, its official. Freedom has Lyme disease. The second round of blood tests were positive both for the SNAP test and the Cornell Multiplex. Hes symptoms indicated Lyme but its always nice to know you are treating something. As we embark on his treatment, I thought Id share with you some of the things Ive learned about treating Lyme.
Consider Exercise And Stress Levels
Exercise at the level the horse is comfortable with is an important part of recovery. It is good for the immune system and mentally helpful for the horse. There is no benefit to pushing the horse beyond what is comfortable, so if he is having a bad day, a short walk will suffice.
Stress is an important factor in recovery from LD. It is beneficial to maintain horses under stress on adaptogenic, stress-relieving herbs such as Siberian ginseng root once they have recovered and returned to competition. It is also important to observe the amount of rest horses get at a barn. It has been shown that at many busy barns, horses actually get very little rest and sleep. This adds to stress, which suppresses the immune system.
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Phase Three Later Months To Years
Also called late disseminated infection
Many infectious disease specialists believe that chronic Lyme disease does not exist, and that Lyme disease from a tick bite can be cured with a short course of antibiotics. It is possible that those who have undergone antibiotic treatments are suffering from the side effects of antibiotics, but more and more experts are coming around to the idea that Lyme disease can survive and cause long-term autoimmune symptoms when antibiotics dont work. We all know that antibiotics do not always work and can cause more problems.
- Arthritis symptoms swollen, painful joints
- Neurological symptoms numbness, tingling, shooting pains
- Cognitive symptoms brain fog, short-term memory deficits, confusion
- Mood disturbance depression
- Abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure
Facial paralysis sometimes occurs in this stage or stage two.
Top 5 Must Have Supplements For Lymies
Below are the supplements I take daily and I know they are Dr. Oz approved and also my LLMD approves them. I think every person with Lyme or tick-borne diseases should have these in your collection. Even healthy people should take these daily. Probiotics are a must have and every person taking antibiotics or Lyme meds should have them. I have recommended my top two probiotics on another post HERE.
You can find all of these supplements fairly cheap if you know where to shop. I buy my supplements online from Swasonvitamins and take advantage of buy-one-get-one deals and their $2.99 shipping. I have heard Vitacost is another great source but they seem to be a bit higher than what I pay. I also buy on Amazon and use my Prime free shipping.
If you go to your local drug store they seem to be about double the cost compared to online prices and deals. I know how little money we have with Lyme and all of our medical costs so trust me I have shopped around for the best deals. You may find some dirt cheap supplements searching on Google but make sure they are a legit source.
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Lyme Disease In The Equine
Lyme disease has been recognized for about 40 to 50 years. It is now the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States and Europe and it is found in Asia and Australia. Since LD can be found in so many locations, it should be considered as part of a rule out list when a diagnosis is not clear.
The OrganismThe Lyme spirochete is a mobile, corkscrew-shaped bacteria. The life cycle involves the deer tick or black-legged tick in the East Coast region, with other tick species involved in other places. Contrary to popular belief, deer are not the only host for the infected tick as the different tick species prefer different hosts. Many small mammals are part of the host cycle, from the white-footed mouse to the chipmunk, hedgehog, squirrels and rats, along with humans and dogs. Fleas, spiders, mosquitoes and mites are also possible parts of the life cycle, although the available research has not defined their exact role.
The tiny nymph stage ticks are the source of most infections while the adult tick, which is a little larger and easier to see, may be less important but potentially infective.
AntibioticsAntibiotics are useful especially in the freshly diagnosed horses. Repeated bouts of antibiotics or use for two to three months or more usually produces resistance and is detrimental. It is better to change to herbs and keep the spirochete guessing. The use of antibiotics does suppress the immune system in the gut, so the rest of the plan needs to support it.
Why Antibiotics May Not Work For Lyme Disease
These days, early treatment is typically successful, according to the latest science, but most patients go undiagnosed for years. At least 20% of those who are said to be successfully treated for Lyme will experience the same symptoms after treatment, which as mentioned, can easily be attributed to a depleted immune system leading to Candida overgrowth or other fungal pathogens, opening the door for many other infections as well.
Antibiotic resistance occurs at a high rate with spirochete bacteria. Borrelia , will respond slowly to antibiotics. They will develop resistance. The bacteria that survive antibiotics can become completely antibiotic resistant. This is why doctors are starting to use multiple antibiotics at once seems, and this does lead to better chance of defeating Lyme, and depleting the immune system. If the medication fails, the bacteria that have survived will not only become resistant, but it will also become much more entrenched in the host.
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Treatment Of Lyme Disease In Horses
Depending on how severe the side effects are, your horse may need an aggressive round of antibiotics and other medications for pain. There are also several therapeutic treatments that may be used.
Oral doxycycline or minocycline, intravenous oxytetracycline or intramuscular ceftiofur are the most common antibiotics used in horses with Lyme disease.
Your veterinarian may prescribe vitamin supplements, and probiotics to help with digestion. In addition, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will be prescribed for pain and inflammation and possibly corticosteroids for serious inflammation.
Understanding Lyme Disease Part Iv: Holistic Treatment Options
Dr. Joyce Harman of Harmany Equine Clinic wraps up her four-part series on equine Lyme disease with a discussion of holistic treatment options.
If youve read Parts I-III , you by now know all about Lyme disease, how its diagnosed and how its treated in the early stages. Now, well talk about other methods I find useful as a complimentary and integrative veterinary practitioner.
Homeopathics should be prescribed constitutionally. However, there are several remedies that fit many of the Lyme symptoms quite well. Ledum is one of the major remedies for Lyme disease its symptoms include effects from toxic puncture wounds as well as insects. A tick bite is both of those. Rhododendron and Kalmia as well as remedies in those families are worth considering.
Western herbal protocols have been used successfully. There are a number of them, mostly sold only to practitioners. The best way to use them is to change formulas frequently, rather than use the same product every month.
Chinese medicine offers one of the best modalities to treat Lyme disease in my experience. Acupuncture is excellent for pain control, immune stimulation, relieving Blood stagnation or pain and moving or tonifying Qi. Among many points that are useful are LIV 3, LIV 8, ST 36, KI 3, LI 4, LI 11, LI 10, BL 23, BL 26, SI 3. Acupressure can be also be used at these and other points that your acupuncturist may find beneficial for your horse.
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Lyme Disease Is Spreading Throughout The Country And Natural Treatment And A Healthy Immune System Is The Most Important Way You Can Protect Your Horse
Lyme disease seems to be the disease du jour in many regions, and with good reason. Its spreading throughout the country and can be very difficult to treat. Horses do not always have as much long term trouble as humans and may be more responsive to treatment, especially if the disease is caught early, but many can and do develop chronic problems. Natural treatment is very important to their recovery and maintenance.
Symptoms Of Lyme In Horses
One of the most common signs of Lyme in horses is lameness or arthritis that is difficult to identify and may change locations. Other symptoms are anterior uveitis, neurologic signs, low grade fever, sensitivity to touch, weight loss, tremors, neck pain, lethargy and laminitis.
The key is that there is usually some degree of behavior change. About 10% to 15% of the horses in my practice area become dangerously spooky when infected with Lyme. The exact reason for this is unknown, but it may be due to one of the different strains. Sometimes Lyme appears along with or before/after cases of equine protozoal myelitis , particularly in older horses. And sometimes Lyme presents with neurological symptoms that look like EPM, but are negative to the EPM test, and positive for Lyme. The characteristic bulls-eye skin lesion is not seen, most likely due to the horses hair coat.
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Pasture Management For Lyme Disease Prevention In Horses
Good pasture management is one of the main ways to prevent Lyme disease in horses with an emphasis placed on keeping grass short, as well as maintaining wide paths between areas of overgrown land and pasture. Ticks tend not to dwell in grassy areas where they cannot hide from the sun and prefer waiting in long grass for passing animals which they then latch on to for a meal. It is important to remember that ticks also carry a variety of other infectious agents, including Babesia, Rickettsia and other recently uncovered viral agents.
Respiratory problems may also be a sign of Lyme disease in horses and some horse-owners ensure that their animals have their titers tested annually, or more often, to make sure they catch Lyme disease promptly. Treatment with antibiotics prior to actual diagnosis with Lyme disease in horses is also becoming more popular but this poses the risk of creating antibiotic-resistant superbugs, as well as affecting the horses gastrointestinal system, liver, and general health.
The Best Articles Ive Found On Lyme Disease In Horses
I found this article the most helpful.
It describes the disease and then gives a solid course of action including Western and Eastern medicine.
The author, Dr. Joyce Harman, agrees in stopping the disease with antibiotics before it can do more harm however and this is the part I really like she gives advice on what kinds of medicine, vitamins, therapies, herbs will support the horse while he is healing from Lyme.
Another great article in the HORSE JOURNAL is linked here.
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Hemp Cannabis And Cbd
The use of hemp with cannabinoids for equine LD is new, but early clinical use is showing excellent results. In humans, CBDs are being used successfully for LD. The effects of cannabinoids on the immune system, arthritis, pain relief and inflammation are among the reasons they are useful for LD.
CBD is usually available as an oil extract. This is an expensive way to give it to horses, since the dose that seems to have the best clinical effect is about 25mg twice a day. Poor quality CBD is a common problem, and products with low concentration likely have less effect. Hemp will grow anywhere, and extracts toxins from the soil, so its important to use organic, traceable products. Recently, a hemp leaf extract has been used.
Cannabis with a THC component is not legal in most states, so has not been researched for use in horses. It would likely have an overly sedating effect in horses, making them unsafe to ride.