Lyme Disease has now been found to be carried by all ticks and last year it was discovered in biting insects! It is spreading almost completely across the country north and south, from coast to coast. Sadly it is still often misdiagnosed as other ailments, often disregarded as behavioral issues, or confusing lameness. Many times it is not treated effectively. Even if treated you should know once a horse has Lyme Disease it is never “cured.” This disease can and does cripple, and even kill horses. What can you do about Lyme Disease to protect your horse?
|Kessy has been dealing with chronic Lyme disease ever since we've been together, but with sound management we are winning.|
Lyme was first discovered by Dr. Allen Steere in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975 hence the name, and today according to some experts nearly every horse along the East Coast is affected, and many carry the subclinical, or even clinic conditions for years, slowly but determinately chipping away at the horse’s health, and sanity. Lyme disease has spread all the way to Florida, and it's not just an East Coast thing anymore, it's in Kentucky and recently been reported in Texas and even California. Today, Lyme disease is the most prevalent tick-borne illness in the United States. Lyme Disease is the most prevalent tick-borne illness in the United States.
Lyme Disease is a disease of inflammation resulting in pain and discomfort. It enters via the blood and quickly moves into soft tissues, burrowing its way into organs and eventually into the central nervous system and brain. It is a progressive disease that can, and will cause irreparable damage to the whole body. And studies have shown that long standing, chronic Lyme can cause arthritic changes to joints.
Lyme is the one thing we can test for, treat and manage. So why not? Cornell University’s Lyme Multiplex test is easy and affordable. Currently it is the most accurate test available. This test is finally catching nearly all the chronically infected horses. If your horse has any Lyme symptoms, for her sake PLEASE TEST. But even if this most reliable test comes back negative or low numbers, if you see any symptoms TREAT HER—this disease is crafty and you need to be too.
What are the symptoms? Many and varied! But don’t let that stop you! Everything from temperament change, to suddenly becoming “spooky” to lethargy, to aggressiveness, sensitivity to touch, mysterious and “wondering lameness” (first one leg than another) and generally being “off,” mildly or grossly unhappy, disinterested, grumpy ... this disease causes chronic pain and different horses deal with pain in different ways. Your horse may have any one of theses symptoms or several, or they come and go and you might think it was “nothing.” Trust me it was “something.”
How do we treat? First treat aggressively with antibiotics, don’t hesitate, treat. Of course consult your vet, but in my opinion start with 100 Doxycycline pills a day for 8 weeks. You should see changes within a week in her willingness, carriage and demeanor. But you are never done ... This disease is persistent and the spirochetes are masters at hiding when under attack by antibiotics, and when the coast is clear and antibiotics are out of the body they sneak out again and attack another system—one big reason Lyme is so often misdiagnosed.
Antibiotics cannot win this battle for your horse by themselves, Lyme is too crafty. But your horse’s immune system can! How? And why?
Each time we treat a horse with antibiotics it does indeed help stop the infection, but it also damages the immune system, and sends the spirochetes into deep muscle and tissue hiding, just waiting to resurface—then it will attack another system in the body. Our most effective weapon is the horse’s own immune system, STRENGTEN IT!
A strong immune system can change on a dime and attack and defeat the invader, antibiotics cannot. No matter which system Lyme attacks, blood, muscle, bone, nervous system, cartilage, spinal column—the healthy immune system can instantly send an army to stop the attack, and it will win. This has been proven in recent years to be the very best in long term defense against Lyme we can give our horses.
How can you strengthen your horse’s immune system? First is a healthy forage based diet (I believe in a total forage diet, no grain— you can read my mare’s diet HERE) and of course plenty of exercise (no stall living). Then stop over vaccinating, if you haven’t already, every time a horse is Re-vaccinated it harms the immune system ... immunologists have known this since the 1970s—you can read my story about Dr. Falconer HERE EXCERPT — "Most vaccinations for horses are for viruses, and veterinarian immunologists have proven scientifically that, once vaccinated for a virus, resulting immunity lasts a very long time, perhaps a lifetime." Dr. Falconer explained that repeated vaccinations not only confuse the immune system, but often cause it to turn on itself, and even attack healthy red blood cells.” Also follow this link to his website for more info and information on TRANFER FACTOR a proven immune system booster supplement. It works.
I’ll introduce you to Dr. Thomas as well, a noted Chinese Herbalist. Read his story HERE – and follow this link to his Website. He has a very high quality blend of herbs proven to boost the immune system, my mare Kessy is on it and I have seen and loved the results. No matter your thoughts, I recommend you give this to your horse.
You can help your horse deal with the horrors of Lyme disease— and flourish! The disease is going to be here no matter what we do, we cannot prevent it, but with these simple techniques we can empower our horses to WIN! As always, email me or talk to me on Facebook to discuss more. After all, It’s For The Horses!
Gitty Up~Dutch Henry
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