Lameness and Lyme
 
 

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Lameness and Lyme

This is a discussion on Lameness and Lyme within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Heel wedges & lameness
  • Lyme diseaxse and equine lameness

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  • 1 Post By jaydee

 
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    09-28-2012, 12:30 PM
  #1
Yearling
Lameness and Lyme

What a week.

I had been having an issue with a chronic, veryy low level lameness issue to the point it was nearly undetectable. Rather than bring the vet out again I took the horse to the Marion Dupont Med Center fora one stop shopping sort of check. Three hours later the diagnosis came down that the horse had bilateral lameness in front, slighlty worse in the right front. The doctor's eaxt words...he's a thoroughbred. Low and underrrun heels and long toe compressed the deep digital flexo tendon that runs under the navicular bone. Added to that, the horse, at some point, probably an old track injury, chipped the navicular bone in the right front. There were some very very minor changes in both navicular bones but the Dr indicated it didn't look degenerative....yet. Treatment: injection of the coffin joint,probably an annual requirement and corrective shoeing with a bar shoe, squeare toe, 2 degree wedge, frog support and a strict 5 week trim schedule to keep the toe short.

On recommendation of another trainer I also had a Lyme titre pulled and the horse has tested positive; treatment starting as soon as the meds got to the barn. Barn has been notified and notification is going out to the other boarders to be aware of possible ticks on their horses. I use a fly/tick repellent daily and re-apply after washing down...wish I knew how he got infected since I have never come across a tick on him.

So now the question is..how much lameness is attributable to the navicular issue and how much to the muscle issue that is created with Lyme?

May not know for a bit.

(banging head on brick wall)
     
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    09-28-2012, 11:35 PM
  #2
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by tlkng1    
What a week.

I had been having an issue with a chronic, veryy low level lameness issue to the point it was nearly undetectable. Rather than bring the vet out again I took the horse to the Marion Dupont Med Center fora one stop shopping sort of check. Three hours later the diagnosis came down that the horse had bilateral lameness in front, slighlty worse in the right front. The doctor's eaxt words...he's a thoroughbred. Low and underrrun heels and long toe compressed the deep digital flexo tendon that runs under the navicular bone. Added to that, the horse, at some point, probably an old track injury, chipped the navicular bone in the right front. There were some very very minor changes in both navicular bones but the Dr indicated it didn't look degenerative....yet. Treatment: injection of the coffin joint,probably an annual requirement and corrective shoeing with a bar shoe, squeare toe, 2 degree wedge, frog support and a strict 5 week trim schedule to keep the toe short.

On recommendation of another trainer I also had a Lyme titre pulled and the horse has tested positive; treatment starting as soon as the meds got to the barn. Barn has been notified and notification is going out to the other boarders to be aware of possible ticks on their horses. I use a fly/tick repellent daily and re-apply after washing down...wish I knew how he got infected since I have never come across a tick on him.

So now the question is..how much lameness is attributable to the navicular issue and how much to the muscle issue that is created with Lyme?

May not know for a bit.

(banging head on brick wall)
My horse had Lyme's early spring and her lameness seemed to be switch from one hind to the next. Her Lyme test was done by Cornell which tells you whether it's an acute or chronic infection. Cornell's test is very accurate and reliable. Hopefully you had the same test. My horse was treated with 50 tablets of doxyclince 2x/day for 6 weeks....which cost me $800.00. Fortunately, when she was re-tested she was negative. When she was sick, not only did she have lameness, she was very lethargic & resistant to training/working. After 2 weeks on the antibiotic she was a changed horse.
Best wishes with your horse!
     
    09-29-2012, 03:43 AM
  #3
Foal
Your story reminds me of what my gelding went through. I, too, asked myself your very same question.

I started with the corrective shoeing and injections. The shoeing barely helped. The injections would help him out for 2 weeks and then the pain and lameness would come right back. He would even become lethargic and have joint swelling. I tried pain meds, muscle relaxers, acupuncture and chiropractics for him with not much improvement.

After battling with this for a several months, I decided to go the route of treating his Lyme disease. My vet put him on a 4 week course of Doxycycline and after 2 weeks I could already see an improvement. By the end of the 4 weeks, he was sound and rideable.

Of course every horse is different, but in my particular situation, it became very apparent that the majority of my horse's discomfort was stemming from his Lyme disease.

Good luck with our horse. I wish you the best!
     
    09-29-2012, 09:57 AM
  #4
Yearling
What gives me hope here is that the horse, other than the mild lameness, has been the same energy and disposition wise. The results (yes the Cornell test) that indicated the chronic infection, the OspF factor, were above the threshold (>1250 is threshold) at 3030 but max is something like 24,000; the other two values were indicated as negative. Vet indicated this may be an indicator his system is already fighting it down but the Doxy may help the process....will see.

He has been stall bound for a few days due to not yet having his front shoes reset and he is still wearing his "slippers" (vet wrap and duct tape hoof covering). When I turned him out into one of our indoor arenas, he was, shall we say, more than energetic.

Appreciate the kind thoughts and words...hopefully all this will be the end of this very long process.
     
    09-29-2012, 12:36 PM
  #5
Foal
Although the doxy got rid of the Lyme's, my horse did develop gastric ulcers directly from the erosive effects of the antibiotics on the stomach lining. So, you might want to discuss this unfortunate side effect with your vet in advance so you can prevent the problem. I wish I did, the cost of 28 days of omeprazole is $1000.00.....ugh!
     
    09-29-2012, 06:00 PM
  #6
Yearling
Before I got back the test results I was doing the research we all do when faced with something new :). One thing I found was a precaution to make sure a good pre- and probiotic was used while on the Doxy-. The horse has been on such a supplement since I got him so we should be OK there for not getting the ulcers. Will definitely keep an eye on him however..poor thing doesn't need any more problems. He will get reshod on Monday and then he can go back on regular turnout so that will cerainly help..he hates being stall bound. I was able to give an a good hour and a half out in one of our indoor arenas and he was much happier.
     
    10-02-2012, 10:22 AM
  #7
Yearling
Update: was able to speak face-to-face with the vet yesterday..he was at the barn for some other issues (different horses). Going on the reaction level of the Lyme test he and I both decided not to treat right now but to re-test in a couple of months. This due to the idea that the clinic found the probable source of lameness and the horse isn't and hasn't shown any other symptoms of Lyme.

He got his new "treads" yesterday, heart bar shoes with a low wedge, and will test them out today during turnout. Will see how he feels when I ride this evening. The heart bars really gave a good visual on just how bad his heels really are..he has about an 1/8 to a 1/4" of shoe showing from the sides, back towards the heels. As the doctor said, Throughbred heels.
     
    10-02-2012, 10:30 AM
  #8
Yearling
I hope the shoes do the trick. I had a mare that had Lymes and foundered because of it. I never saw a tick on her and the vet said she thought it was due to the barn swallows and that they might have passed it through waste contaminating grain? Who knows. What I do know is that the heartbar shoes did the trick for that mare. She was 100% sound after that for about 18 more years. I think as she got older, she had her stiff days. Those were usually damp cold days and likely was a normal part of the aging process. Good luck with your horse.
     
    10-02-2012, 10:40 AM
  #9
Super Moderator
I am convinced that the bulk of my mares lameness was down to Lymes. We were never aware of her doing anything to injure herself and though she does have some arthritis - mostly down to the fact that she has been a bit too high geared all her life it was never enough to need meds or to slow her down
By the time she was treated for Lymes (count was really high and her whole personality had changed) I feel that the damage was done. After antibiotics she improved a huge amount, was a happy horse again and looked sound enough to ride - then we noticed a suspensory problem starting in one hind leg, she was cranky, hated being touched, spent hours lying down and struggled to get up when she needed too and she was losing weight, her Lymes count was back up again so more antibiotics. The hind leg lameness is irreversable making her too uneven to ride but she is able to gallop around the field and gets up and down as normal and is happy and looking well
We check them twice daily for ticks, they are sprayed daily through the season but the deer ticks that spread this disease are tiny and easily missed, sometimes they have dropped off and the damage done.
Your horse does have other issues but if the Lymes is high it may be contributing to the general discomfort he's in so worth treating for IMO
natisha likes this.
     
    10-02-2012, 11:27 AM
  #10
Yearling
Hi Jaydee...being up in CT you are in the heart of Lyme central...I grew up there by the way :) Grew up in Bristol about a 1/4 mile from where ESPN now stands; boarded in Farmington at the polo grounds.

In this case his positive level was at 3030 so definitely on the low end of the scale. The vet said pretty much the same thing yesterday as you just indicated. Had the level been in the very high thousands or in to the 10,000 range, or had there been other symptoms, lethargy, fever, general malaise, he would have treated. He said that when a horse is in an active infection they will show some signs of illness and in this case the horse is healthy and active.

I am and will be keeping an eye on things :)

My best wishes to you....

Inga, that is interesting about the barn swallows. Wonder if there has been any research there; not that we could stop birds from jetting in and out of the barn like small airplanes.
     

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