So, it’s official. Freedom has Lyme disease. The second round of blood tests were positive both for the SNAP test and the Cornell Multiplex. He’s symptoms indicated Lyme but it’s always nice to know you are treating something. As we embark on his treatment, I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’ve learned about treating Lyme.
- The treatment protocol is now 6-8 weeks of Doxycycline. Freedom was treated for Lyme once before, back in 2011. At that time the recommendation was 4-6 weeks. And I can remember when the treatment protocol was just 30 days. The good news is that he completely recovered last time.
- Positive is positive. The magnitude of the titer does not correlate with how your horse feels. So, even though your horse may have a relatively low titer, he may feel terrible.
- Keep your horse moving. My vet told me to keep him active (he is on 24/7 turnout which helps).
- Treatment goes beyond antibiotics. Whenever you treat your horse with Doxy, you should supplement with a probiotic because antibiotics kill the beneficial gut bacteria. In addition to that, many vets recommend supportive care that includes:
- Omega 3 supplements, which have anti-inflammatory properties and support the immune system (Freedom gets flax seed),
- Vitamin E to protect against muscle damage and the improve immune response. Natural vitamin E is has greater bioavailability, so look for products with d-alpha-tocopherol, not dl-alpha-tocopherol. Freedom tested deficient for Vitamin E awhile back, so he always gets it, but I’ve upped his supplementation while he’s being treated.
- Lots of forage to help avoid gastrointestinal problems. I’m a big proponent of lots of hay. I also mix his Doxy into soaked alfalfa cubes and grain to make sure he eats it all.
- A joint supplement: Since Lyme often manifests itself as joint soreness, feeding a joint supplement can help. Freedom gets Corta-Flx liquid.
Would love to hear of other treatments that people have used successfully!