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.


  1. It's really good to have a diagnosis to work with. Fingers crossed for a cooperative patient and a speedy recovery

  2. Just glad you got an answer. We missed Lyme at first with Pie, too. Don't know if it'll work for you, but Pie was perfectly willing to gobble up his huge number of tiny pills with his grain - I just had to supervise his eating, on the concrete barn aisle, so I could pick up any pills he dropped and put them back in his feed pan.

  3. Good to know what Chance is dealing with. All of our horses have had Lymes and been treated with Doxycycline. They occassionally used to have a flare up which we dealt with. Our vets have been giving them a Lyme vaccine for the last few years and fingers crossed, so far so good. No one has been reinfected. Good luck with the medication. Ours just ate it in their grain.

  4. Lyme is tough. I've been told by vets that nearly all animals in NJ will test positive for it, but not all are symptomatic so it doesn't do much good to test before ruling out other causes. Don't beat yourself up, you've got a treatment plan now and Chance will start feeling better soon! Hugs and best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    1. Shannon - I believe the new Cornell test (which is not a Western blot) actually tests for active or chronic infection, not just exposure - the test only came out a year or two ago and is much more useful diagnostically. Same story with the new EPM test - the old one could only tell you that there'd been exposure, the new one tells you a lot more.