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What are Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Horses? Treatment & Diagnosis
Lyme disease can seriously affect your horse’s health. Typical symptoms are lameness, low levels of energy and a surly attitude.
If untreated, it can lead to complications over the long term. Some of these are damage to your horse’s nervous system, skin, joints, and vision.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial disease which is spread due to tick bites. Lyme disease was first identified in Lyme, Connecticut in the 1970’s.
It infects horses as well as people and other animals. The ticks have 3 life stages (larvae, nymph, and adult). They need to feed on blood before molting into the next stage.
Ticks pick up bacteria when they are at the larval and nymph stage as a result of ingesting the blood of infected mice.
They then transmit this infection to humans, horses, and other animals or even birds. Horses can get this disease when infected ticks are around.
Symptoms of Lyme disease in horses
– Stiff joints, sporadic lameness which keeps shifting. This lameness is due to polysynovitis, an inflammation of membranes which enclose the horse’s large working joints.
– Tenderness or sensitivity in your horse when exposed to sensory stimuli. This happens due to inflammation in your horse’s skin.
– Behavioral changes such as irritability and depression
Lyme Disease Diagnosis of your horse
To get a proper diagnosis of whether your horse has Lyme disease or not, you should try and save any ticks which may have bitten your horse.
Take it to your veterinarian and get a test done for any infectious bacteria.
However, a definitive diagnosis of Lyme disease in your horse is not easy. Your veterinarian will examine your horse and try to identify any clinical signs of the disease.
These are lameness, dermatitis, arthritis, eye disease or neurological disease. Your veterinarian will also take into account whether your horse stays in an area which is tick-infested.
Have there been reports of Lyme disease in that area? Does your horse show classic symptoms of Lyme disease infection?
Lyme disease in horses Treatment
If Lyme disease is detected and treated early, chances of recovery are very high.
In the majority of cases, antibiotics will be effective. However, you should also consider combining the use of antibiotics with natural treatments.
Consult a holistic veterinarian who has experience with Lyme disease for his advice.
You should also try out the following:
– Changes in lifestyle
Your horse should be in a stress-free environment. Adrenalin released due to stress has the effect of suppressing your horse’s immune system.
This can allow the disease to recur and prevent your horse from recovering. Let your horse outside in fresh air daily.
Make sure that their stalls are spacious enough for them to lie down often.
– Dietary support
Your horse’s diet should be as unprocessed as possible. Include Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin D3 and Selenium in its feed. Vitamin C helps regulate your horse’s immune system and helps in healing its joints.
How can you prevent your horse from contracting Lyme disease?
Try and avoid contact with any ticks or other blood-sucking diseases. Make sure you keep your horse in an environmentally friendly area.
Ensure good manure handling to keep ticks and other insects away. Consider keeping chicken and guinea hens. These birds love to eat ticks and can keep the environment tick free.
Make sure you clean your horse on a regular basis. Last but not the least, ask your veterinarian for cleaning products which will help kill any insects on your horse’s skin.
What are Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Horses Treatment & Diagnosis