Saturday, July 19, 2014

Day 12 on Medication

So Far, So Good

Chance is still eating up his antibiotics. I chop up some little pieces of carrot and feed them with the pills in his sweet feed. He is a nice, neat eater and has been cleaning up every bit of the food and meds.

Today, the Boys were out in the pasture when I went out to give them their dinner. Tucker and Toby saw me before I called and came trotting in. Chance was still grazing, so I called him. At first, he just started walking, then, he thought better of it, hurried into a trot and then a canter. It's the first time I've seen him moving out on his own in a while.

He didn't trot for too long, but when he did I did not see any signs of a limp. The canter looked to be his usual relaxed rolling gait. Both the fact that he looked pretty sound and that he decided to take up the gaits in the first place was a pretty good sign that he may be feeling better. I recall when I had Lyme, the antibiotic made me feel better in short order, so hopefully that's what's going on with Chance.

Speaking of me, my doctor did not feel it was worth it for me to get tested. Since I have been treated for Lyme twice--once with symptoms and once with a bull's eye rash--the current tests would not prove anything one way or another. The Western blot test and the ELISA test basically check for antibodies and anyone who's been exposed to Lyme would have positive results. Without a baseline number, it's impossible to know what numbers a positive test would be for someone like me. There are at least two non-FDA approved tests available for a pretty high price--the lowest was $600--but there is no way to be sure the results would be valid. For that kind of money, it's not worth taking a chance.

So, I'll just go along hoping I'm OK. Apparently, there's no really reliable way to know for sure.

I've been swimming nearly every day, trying to get myself back in shape. My hip still gets sore, as do my knees, but I can cope and the swimming feels great. There is a free water aerobics class at the pool for members I want to take. I missed the first session and last Monday's class was canceled due to bad weather. I  think I'm looking forward to it. I already do water exercises, but I would like to learn more. It might even be fun.

Needless to say, I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Day One on Medication

Thanks to All

By the by, may I start out by thanking you all for your perceptive comments.

I know Kate has a ton of expertise on Lyme, and she is 100% correct about the new tests available. The titers test for: :# 1. a horse that has been vaccinated, #2. a horse with an active "new" infection, and #3. a horse with a chronic infection. Chance was normal for #1 & #2 and nearly 7 times normal for #3.

Bless his little cotton socks, as some of my British blogging pals might say, but I tried Kate's suggestion of simply putting the pills in his feed and feeding him on a clean, flat floor--I have rubber mats in the aisle. I added some cut up carrots just to distract his taste buds, and to my delight, Chance ate up every bit of his dinner including all 22 capsules of minocycline. The pills are gel capsules, not tablets so I was a bit concerned, but so far, so good. I don't know how long he will keep eating them, but I will try every day.

I have a dose syringe just in case and a small stock of applesauce easily refilled if we need it. I do like the idea of his eating the pills directly, though. Thanks for the good advice so that I tried.

In the meantime, I decided to talk to my own human doctor about getting myself tested again. I have been treated twice for Lyme disease and tested a third time just on general principles. What I hope is, but I can't seem to find confirmation on the Internet, is that there are new tests for humans as well. The last time I was tested the results were negative.

First, since Chance has Lyme, I can be relatively certain ticks in my area are infected, and I've had plenty of ticks on me. I've had no rashes that I've noticed, but the frist time I had Lyme, I had no rash, so that means nothing.

Second, I have had chronic issues with my knees, even after the replacements. It's worth checking to see if those issues might be cause by something like Lyme.

Third, considering that I live in New Jersey which is a hotbed of the disease and I spent a lot of time in the woods and fields, it's not a bad  idea to check anyhow.

I don't know how the doctor I'll be seeing will take all this, but he's generally been pretty reasonable about such things. He's the physician at my chiropractic center--Alternative Integrated Medical Services--where they do all kinds of therapies. It's a fabulous place--did my physical therapy there, get chiropractic, acupuncture, nutritional counseling, massage therapy, chelation therapy, xrays, blood tests, and basic medical services there, all in one practice.

Anyhow, that's the plan.

I think it's a good idea.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

The Verdict is In

Chance Has Chronic Lyme Disease

Not much more to say for now as the titles tell it all. Chance had a count of 7,350 on the chronic portion of his Lyme test. He was negative for and active infection.

At last the mystery of his lameness has been solved. I only wish we had run the test sooner, but when I first mentioned it, my vet dismissed the idea.

Live and learn. I just feel bad that Chance has had the extra month or more of feeling miserable because we didn't test him sooner. But, as is typical with the disease, we treated and examined him for other causes of is lameness first.

The current antibiotic my vet is recommending is minocycline. Due to new drug manufacturing and pricing issues, it is a good choice. Doxycycline is the more usual option, but it can cause digestive issues, especially diarrhea. Apparently the minocycline does not have the same complications.  He will have a course of the antibiotics twice a day for 48 days.

I'll probably be dosing him with the syringe unless I can be sure he will eat the medication on his own--not too hopeful about that. I can dissolve the capsules in water and then add some applesauce to make it tastier for him. It's my usual method for giving oral medications, so I'm pretty experienced at it. All I need is a co-operative patient.  Hard to say how long I'll have one of the stuff tastes bad.

It's another one of those good/bad situations. The good is that we finally know what's wrong, the bad is that Lyme is not necessarily cured easily--at least not permanently. It can rear its ugly head at any time even after it's been treated and seems to have gone its merry way.

"Chronic" means Chance has had Lyme for a while. How long is hard to say. I have to wonder now about that hind leg issue of his and whether it may have been from an old infection he got even before I adopted him. Or, if it is just another red herring along the way, coincidental with his more recent soreness up front--or in the other hind leg.

Suffice it to say, I am hopeful we are now on course to make him feel better at last. He's a really nice horse who deserves everything I can do to get him healthy and happy again.

I'll keep you all posted on how things are going. Medication starts Sunday night so I can do an uninterrupted course of treatments since my vet has to order more pills that he currently has on hand.

The month of July is going to be very interesting here at Follywoods.