The L Word

Well, not the one you’re likely thinking of. Love is much more fun than Lyme disease, but guess which one we’re talking about today?

Yep. Lyme disease. So with Copper’s assortment of lamenesses last year, someone made a suggestion: that I test him for Lyme. If you recall, I pumped a fair amount of money into Copper’s body last year: stitches in his knee (unrelated to this obviously), new fancy shoes because of a front end lameness, chiro, hock injections, more chiro, and then he came up lame AGAIN in his hind end and I promptly gave up and stopped riding him and basically said, go be horse. I ran out of money and patience around the end of riding season, so I figured a few months out on pasture without work wouldn’t hurt him any.


I took these pictures for his 10th bday post that didn’t happen. Whoops.

I planned on having him tested for Lyme disease as soon as Paige foaled so that I could utilize the $75 trip fee for the vet for more than one thing. I didn’t think he was in pain really if I wasn’t riding him so I wasn’t in a huge hurry. Well, the results are back and on the test they ran he scored 5120. High on this test is 1200. So he likely has been in some sort of pain throughout winter-sorry Copper. So now I’m poking my vet (well, my substitute vet) for a solution. I really miss having my regular vet in action. Substitute vet seems wonderful and all, but the practice as a whole is flooded with work without regular vet working and there’s a significant lag in communication right now. So I had to call the office to find out IF Copper’s test results were back, which is when she told me about his results and that the vet would call me back with a game plan. Well, two days passed and I didn’t hear anything, so I called again and spoke to the vet, who is going to call the vet school and call me back.


By now, I’ve googled Lyme disease in horses to the point that I pretty much feel confident about how to treat it. I’m also taking a large animal vet assisting class so I’ve picked the brain of the vet tech who is teaching it to the point that she probably regrets accepting my friend request on fb.

So basically I’ve determined from my sources that Copper needs to be receiving 10mg of doxycycline every 12 hours, so now I’m waiting on substitute vet for the Rx. It’s safe to say I’ll be calling again today to try to shake the bushes some and get this moving. Vet tech instructor friend says I’ll see a pretty quick change in how he feels once he’s getting the doxy, but that I should be diligent in watching for diarrhea, and give him probiotics if his poops get loose.

So basically, this is life:


Reading back over my posts from last year that I linked to above, this makes sense with what I’ve researched on Lyme disease. Sound one day and gimpy the next. He wasn’t very sensitive to touch, nor did he have behavioral changes really, but otherwise he sounds pretty textbook. Hopefully treating this will resolve our lingering issues and we can pick things back up soon and soundly.

16 thoughts on “The L Word

  1. Thirty days on minocycline, twice a day. The dose is 4mg/kg of body weight, so average 1100 lb horse gets 20 pills twice a day. The mino gives better results than doxycycyline, but not all vets are aware of this. Your vet may have to give you a script to a vet supply company to get the mino. Doxy is not available anymore and has to be gotten from a compounding pharmacy which means quality and price vary dramatically.

    I’ve treated a lot of horses for Lyme and treatment helps enormously. You will see immediate improvement with treatment, but full results take a few months so be patient and don’t stop treatment even if you don’t think it is working.

    After a couple of weeks of treatment, you might want to consider vaccinating for Lyme. There is no approved vaccine for horses, but all the vets around here use the dog vaccine made by Merial – it HAS to be this manufacturer. You need 3 shots in sequence, give one, then the second 30 days later and the 3rd 3 months after that, than annually. Results have been very good in horses with no adverse reactions reported.

    I’m sure your horse will be feeling much better soon. Good luck!

      • You’ll definitely get minocycline now instead of the doxy which is good because it causes a lot less side affects. Make sure to still treat with a stomach buffer though! Hopefully they get back to you with a prescription soon. I know BM’s horse that I told you got diagnosed not too long ago is feeling so much better and sassier since he’s gone through treatment!

  2. I remember reading about all those issues… I’m glad you found out what it is, and thankfully it can be treated. We look out for Lyme disease here, as well. Also, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in our doggies. One of my dogs got the RMSF, and even though we treated it, he continued to have chronic issues. I wonder is that the same for Lyme?

    • Supposedly with Lyme, he shouldn’t have any more clinical signs, but it will always be dormant within him. So if you do a snap test, he’ll always be lyme positive, but if we test again the way we did this time, his numbers should be MUCH lower if treatment has been successful. Fingers crossed!

  3. The thought has crossed my mind about Razz having lyme. We live & ride in deer tick central. I know my boy has some sort of ache in the hind. Always figured it had more to do with his conformation. His head and butt are in 2 different zip codes. Should probably have my own test ran on him. Life has been so hectic that I forgot about asking for it w/ his spring shots last week. Glad you have some answers for Copper now. But let’s be honest, nothing will rid him of that appy ‘tude. Mine is half app, and I get a touch of sass with almost every ride.

    • Girl, you know it. haha. I’m paranoid that the only reason he didn’t kill me when I was being so adventurous with him last year was because he didn’t feel like it hahahah

  4. Well answers are nice… at least you aren’t questioning what’s going on.

    Here’s to him feeling better and back to your normal guy!

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