South Shore Equine Clinic & Diagnostic Center
Equine Veterinary Services South Shore Boston Massachusetts

Subscribe To Our Email Newsletter Subscribe To Our Email Newsletter
Subscribe To Our Email Newsletter Subscribe To Our Email Newsletter

Become a fan of South Shore Equine Clinic on Facebook



Bits & Pieces: February 2010

2010 New Year's Resolutions For a healthy horse

1.) Feed 1-2% of body weight in roughage each day

2.) Run fecal exams twice a year

3.) Attend the  2010 Horse Owner Education Series on Monday nights at SSEC

Lyme Disease, continued...
Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagram of ticks...Other than recovering the tick and having it tested, we are left with blood testing. As with any disease, your horse's immune system will produce antibodies against the Lyme organism. Therefore, antibody titers can be measured. Different laboratories use different schemes for their titers and interpretation of the test is technician dependent. 
Thankfully, we have the SNAP ELISA test to determine the presence of Lyme disease in horses. This test looks for the C6 antibody against the Lyme organism which is associated with the variable region on the host's antibody and is present only when there is live Borrelia within the host. It also declines rapidly (within 60 days) after effective treatment. The SNAP test was validated for use with horses in 2006 and the best part of it is that it can be done stall side, this means within 10 minutes a positive test can confirm a diagnosis of Lyme disease. This test also tests for Anaplasma phagocytophila, Ehrlichia, other tick borne diseases and it costs less than $50!!
Once we have a diagnosis of Lyme disease, treatment can be instituted. We recommend intravenous oxytetracycline for treatment of Lyme disease. A Cornell University study showed that twice daily injections eliminated Lyme disease 100% of the time. We have found that once daily intravenous dosing for 5 to 10 days, followed by oral oxytetracycline powder to be effective at completely eradicating the organism in at least 75 to 80% of the cases. Intravenous oxytetracycline followed by oral oxytetracycline powder is also much less expensive with a typical cost of approximately $200 (plus hospitalization or farm visits).

Back to top

Akinas Blonde Cowboy   palomino horse

"Cowboy" is a 5 year old Palomino Morgan who  was presented to SSEC for evaluation on October 8, 2009. It was reported that Cowboy occasionally "stocks up" in all four legs but had no associated lameness. At presentation, Cowboy was bright and alert and had a mild amount of edema (observable swelling from fluid accumulation in body tissue) present in his left hind leg. Cowboy was evaluated in hand and on the lunge line and was sound on all surfaces. He was also negative to all flexion tests.

Cowboy was then tested with the 4DX Snap test, and was positive for the C6 Antibody. This indicated an active infection with Borrelia burgdoferi, also known as Lyme Disease.  

It was decided by his owner that Cowboy would stay at SSEC for intravenous Oxytetracycline treatment where his progress would be continuously monitored by the doctors and technicians. When Cowboy was discharged on October 13, 2009 he was given oral Oxytetracycline and Probiotics that he would continue to receive for 2-3 weeks.

Cowboy's owner had been satisfied with his progress following the treatment and scheduled a recheck Snap test to determine if he was Lyme disease free or if there had been a possible reinfection. On January 23, 2010 Cowboy's retest was negative for Lyme disease.

Not only has Cowboy been Lyme free since his treatment, he has been able to return to full work and is preparing for the upcoming show season. We look forward to hearing about his future successes! 

Back to Top