HARDSCIENCEONLYME: Horse Treated for Lyme Improves, Relapses, then Dies
A 12-year-old thoroughbred was examined because of signs of depression, neck stiffness, and poor performance and a reluctance to raise its neck and head above a horizontal plane. The horse responded well to doxycycline treatment for 60 days and returned to normal exercise. However, 60 days after treatment was discontinued, the horse again developed a stiff neck and rapidly progressive neurologic deficits. The horse's condition deteriorated rapidly despite IV antibiotic treatment, and the horse was euthanized. Postmortem examination revealed findings consistent with a diagnosis of neuroborreliosis (leptomeningitis, lymphohistiocytic leptomeningeal vasculitis, cranial neuritis, and peripheral radiculoneuritis with Wallerian degeneration). Nervous system infection with B burgdorferi should be considered in horses with evidence of meningitis and high or equivocal serum anti-B burgdorferi antibody titers. Evaluation of immune function is recommended in adult horses evaluated because of primary bacterial meningitis.
More information on the study is available here. James FM, Engiles JB, Beech J., Meningitis, cranial neuritis, and radiculoneuritis associated with Borrelia burgdorferi infection in a horse. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2010 Nov 15;237(10):1180-5.
The LYME POLICY WONK blog and HARD SCIENCE ON LYME is written by Lorraine Johnson, JD, MBA, who is CALDA’s Chief Executive Officer. Contact her at email@example.com.
- August 18, 2011 at 2:08 am
In humans, Lyme-neuroborreliosis and coinfections with primary bacterial meningitis (similar to Syphilis) are (90%) or more of the time "intentionally" misdiagnosed as "ADD/ADHD" "learning disorders" "obsessive compulsive" "chronic fatigue syndrome" "migraines" "fibromyalgia" "rheumatoid arthritis" "viral meningo-encephalitis" and/or "intentional false-fabricated pathopsychological mental illness, delusional, somatoform, paranoid, schizophrenia and/or bipolar" to coverup (IDSA's)claim that TBD's are easy to diagnose and treat, after their long pattern of practice of blatant ignorance and negligent Breech of (CDC) Standard of Care for tick bites w/ flu-like illness in prevention of serious neurological and life-long health consequences, even death.
(CDC) reports approx. only (10%) of cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed.
- August 31, 2011 at 8:04 pm
Wonder if any borrelia organisms were detected on necropsy?
- February 24, 2012 at 8:56 am
Hi Felissa. Nicely done post and crltainey very timely. There are just a few things I might add. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease are tiny and aren’t always noticed by the pet owner. So, generally, in our office anyway, we don’t rely heavily on a history of tick exposure. If the dogs has signs consistent with Lyme disease, we go ahead and test, even the owner has never found ticks on the dog. It’s worth noting also that the symptoms that you noted are the most common. However, there is also a form of Lyme disease that can affect the kidneys, so monitoring kidney values through blood and urine testing is a good idea for dogs that test positive for Lyme disease.In regards to the vaccination for Lyme disease, that’s a pretty controversial subject. Some veterinarians recommend it extensively, others don’t suggest using it at all. A lot depends on the how high the risk factors are for the individual dog. In any case, it’s important to remember that vaccinating against Lyme disease does not remove the necessity of controlling ticks because there are so many other diseases that ticks can carry that are not prevented by the vaccine. And some of those diseases are even more serious than Lyme disease!Thanks for bringing this subject up. It’s an important thing for people to be aware of.
- November 19, 2014 at 9:56 am
As with humans and other animals, there isn’t a blood test for Lyme that’s accurate enough to rule out Lyme as a diagnosis. The level of reliance on testing that might be useful in other illnesses just isn’t that helpful re Lyme. Lyme bacteria have a long life cycle (around 1 month) and they have ways of evading the immune system and antibiotics via creating cyst forms (which doxycycline seems to trigger) and biofilms, plus it being virtually impossible to be accurate about the timing of the tick bite. IMO (and I’m not a vet or a doctor, but a person who’s been battling various tick-borne diseases for several years) treatment should be carried on for at least 2 months after all the symptoms have gone. It’s hard enough for humans to get the right diagnosis and treatment when it comes to tick-borne diseases – how much harder it must be for an animal suffering the disorientation, the levels of pain, the depression and misery these diseases bring, without being able to describe how they feel or where the pain is/what type of pain it is.
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