Before reading, consider checking out our previous articles on Defining Equine Lyme Disease and Testing for Equine Lyme Disease. It is not an easy thing to care for a horse that has developed problems due to this disease. Horses that have developed neurological problems and uveitis tend to have a poor recovery. Very few horses with neurological signs are treated successfully. Unfortunately, most horses with uveitis lose their vision. No horse owner should have to go through that. This is why it is so important to prevent your horse from contracting the disease.
Lyme disease prevention consists of environmental management and controlling the risk of exposure. Mow all tall grasses, clear shrubs and bushes, and remember to keep your horses out of forests and woodland. Using fences to keep out animals carrying ticks is not always enough. Deer often transport ticks to horses, even if they do not have access to your pasture. Consider using feeding stations with insecticide-laden rubbing posts to treat deer for ticks that wander near your property. Also, use mulch between the woods and your pasture to create a buffer like a moat around a castle.
The Best Prevention Method is Simple
Regular grooming and careful tick removal is the best prevention method for equine Lyme disease. This helps prevent ticks from staying attached to horses long enough to transmit the disease. Remember to be careful when removing ticks from your horse to ensure that it does not survive and latch onto you instead. Also, apply a tick preventive such as a Permethrin spray to deter ticks from latching onto horses in the first place. Also, some veterinarians do administer a canine Lyme disease vaccine. Are you looking for a horse property in Colorado? Don’t settle for a regular realtor that doesn’t have experience with horses. Contact one of our horse-person realtors today.
Detecting and diagnosing equine Lyme disease can be very challenging. There is little to no scientific literature on the subject and therefore a lack of an experimental model for equine infection. Also, a positive lab test is not definitive enough to lead to a positive Lyme disease diagnosis. Because of this, equine Lyme disease is often over diagnosed. Though, you should still get your horse tested. However, lab results show the horse has been exposed to the disease at some point and has produced antibodies against it. With all these problems with diagnosis, here are a few sure-fire steps to figure out if your horse has the infection:
First of all, is your horse is located in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent?
You might have to rule out other causes of the clinical signs your horse is showing. These signs tend to overlap with many other equine diseases.
If your horse is in a Lyme Disease region and is showing common clinical signs of the disease that cannot be attributed to something else, then have your horse tested.
Laboratory tests consist of blood and tissue testing from the affected area. Veterinarians test horse blood in several different ways. These include the indirect fluorescent antibody test, Western blot test, or whole cell immunology. However, blood testing alone can be inconclusive without tissue testing. The broad-spectrum tetracycline and similar antibiotics are the most commonly used drugs to treat equine Lyme disease. For more information check out our other articles on Lyme diseases in horses. Are you looking for a horse property in Colorado? Don’t settle for a regular realtor that doesn’t have experience with horses. Contact one of our horse-person realtors today.
Horses are exposed to many things because they are large mammals that spend most of their days out in the elements. Unfortunately, one of these things is diseases. You have probably heard about Lyme disease. It is transmitted by ticks to humans, cats, and dogs. You might not know however, that this disease can also affect horses. In humans, infections can lead to a wide range of clinical signs, including rashes, arthritis, and cardiac issues. For our house pets, Lyme disease can cause problems with the kidneys. Lyme disease in horses causes neurological issues, uveitis (eye inflammation), muscle atrophy, and behavioral changes, just to name a few.
In Colorado and other western states, Lyme disease is carried by the Western black-legged tick. These ticks have a two-year life cycle and feed on the blood of mammals to survive. Adult ticks are more active in the spring and fall. They climb to the top of the grass when temperatures rise above 40°F. When horses lie down in the grass or walk through tall grass, their hair brushes up against the leaves. This is typically how a tick attaches to the horse.
Equine Lyme Disease
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or the CDC), reports that black-legged ticks are endemic in 14 states in the Midwest and along the East Coast. These areas have a cooler climate, therefore humans and house pets are unlikely to get the disease. Also, their geographical range appears to be expanding. However, horses live primarily outdoors, and are naturally at a higher risk of contracting Lyme disease.. In fact, horses might be more widely exposed to the disease than we realize. For information on equine Lyme disease, stay tuned for more upcoming articles on our blog. Are you looking for a horse property in Colorado? Don’t settle for a regular realtor that doesn’t have experience with horses. Contact one of our horse-person realtors today.
When it comes to the equine herpes virus, you should think about what your horse is doing. Some horse owners out there may have only one horse, but many Colorado horse owners own multiple horses. In the case of multiple horses on the same ranch, you should also consider what the horses around are doing, too.
If you only have one horse, then it goes without saying that your horse is at less of a risk of contracting the equine herpes virus. Likewise, horses that only ride at your house are at less risk. Horse that leave the ranch periodically to compete and has a more social lifestyle with other horses are at a higher risk of contracting the disease.
Vaccinate your show horse at least seven days before a show. Two to three weeks before is even better. Some horses may have an active herpes infection and you might not even know. When you go to vaccinate them their body will react. Their legs will swell up and there is a chance they will develop a fever.
Know your horse’s baseline temperature. Monitor your horse’s temperature daily during and after a competition. Don’t share water troughs, buckets, or sponges. Don’t use communal hoses. This might sound stingy, but use your own and don’t share it to reduce your horse’s risk of contracting EHV.
Clean and then disinfect hay nets, bags, or troughs after use, and don’t share them between horses. The EHV virus can live in this type of environment for a time under ideal conditions. That can set you up for future infection. You can use any disinfectant. Even commercial household cleaners like bleach wipes can kill EHV.
Clean and disinfect areas in the trailer where a horse’s nose or nasal discharge might be. If you handle multiple horses, wash your hands before moving from one horse to the next. For more information on EHV, contact your local horse rescue center and talk to a professional Colorado horse handler.
The staff at Colorado Horse Property knows how important your horse’s health is to you. One of the issues that you might have to look out for is your horse contracting what is known as Laminitis.
Laminitis is a serious health concern that could possibly end your horse’s career. In some cases this ailment may cause such severe pain in your animal that euthanasia is the only way to end your horses suffering. If that wasn’t bad enough, the statistics surrounding horse Laminitis are grim. Surveys show that this disease affects about one percent of all horses in America at any given time, leading to death.
The key to saving a horse that has contracted the disease is early, aggressive treatment. Though Laminitis has no cure, treatment can limit damage and may save your horse’s life, so call your veterinarian immediately if you see signs. In septic laminitis there’s typically a lag of 24 to 72 hours between the triggering event and the first signs, but the inflammatory response begins almost immediately. The faster you can halt it, the better your horse’s chances will be.
We at Colorado Horse Property know that taking care of your horses is probably the biggest worry that you have as an owner and though it can be very challenging it is very important to insure your animals are healthy all year long. Something that you should be looking out for is horse thrush.
Thrush is a bacterial infection that occurs in the tissue of the V-shaped structure in the hoof, more commonly known as the frog. The bacteria can penetrate epidermis of the frog causing the tissue to deteriorate. Horse owners can check for this by looking for a ragged frog that is producing a smelly discharge, or by looking for blood on the end of the hoof pick when cleaning the area.
The key to curing thrush and preventing if from coming back is to fix your horses frog. Farriers are the first defense against thrush from occurring, because they can trim your horse’s hooves so that the frog and the heel are on the same plane. This will help promote new, healthy growth of the hoof. Depending on how bad the thrush has infected the frog, you will probably want to treat the area by cutting away loose tissue and applying a diluted bleach solution. Another thing you can do is replace straw bedding, which holds moisture and increases the chance your horse’s hooves will become infected, with sawdust or another similar alternative.
Taking care of your horses is probably the biggest worry that you have as an owner and though it can be very challenging it is very important to insure your animals are healthy all year long. Something that you have to look out for are summer sores. Your horses naturally have stomach worms, called Habronema and Draschia, and they rarely cause your horse any harm. However, the worm’s larvae can cause problems.
Suffice to say, the larvae of these worms are what causes summer sores, technically known as habronemiasis. Before the deworming agent ivermectin was introduced in the early 1980s in North America, summer sores were a huge problem. Ivermectin, moxidectin and other drugs in their class turned out to be highly effective against the stomach worms. Don’t let this make you complacent about checking your animals for worms however. Though the numbers of these larvae have been greatly reduced due to these advances in modern medicine, the worms are not completely wiped out.
If you discover that your horse has summer sores, don’t hesitate to get them to your local large animal veterinarian. Most likely your horse will be prescribed topical or systemic glucocorticoids, which are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs. To kill the parasites, your horse should be treated systemically with ivermectin or moxidectin, which should remove the adult worms from the stomach. But you are not out of the woods yet. Summer sores are a fly magnet, and flies will irritate the lesion and perhaps deposit more worm larvae. Reducing the places flies can breed, as in around manure, wet feed, or other wet organic material, is the best way to decrease the chance of this happening.
The first line of defense against diseases and viruses that your horses may pick up this year are vaccinations. Vaccinations will boost your animals immune system to protect them against contracting diseases. If you think that living in the United States makes your animals less prone to international diseases, then think again.
In a study of horses all around the United States in 2017, nearly four hundred of them were diagnosed with the West Nile virus. There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching an animal suffer from a disease; one that can be prevented through a simple vaccination. Do the right thing and get your horses vaccinated. If you are in Colorado, consider visiting a professional at the Littleton Equine Medical Center or the Colorado Equine Clinic.
Other things you have to look out for are pathogens that mosquitoes carry and can potentially pass on to your animals. Mosquito populations tend to peak in the late summer and fall, which is why fall is often the time when we see more cases of mosquito borne diseases, including Eastern and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis.
For horses traveling and coming in contact with many different horses and environments like at rodeos of common horse shows and performances, booster vaccinations may be warranted to help prevent highly contagious diseases such as equine influenza virus and equine herpes virus. All horses should be seen by a veterinarian at least annually for a physical and dental exam, vaccinations and deworming evaluation.
Taking care of your horses is a beautiful thing that can actually reduce stress. No one wants their animals to get sick, so doing everything that you can do to reduce the chance of your animals contracting rabies is of paramount importance. Studies show that there is an increased risk of your horses contracting this virus in the late summer and fall as populations of wildlife are at their highest.
Like any other animal, horses get this vicious virus by being bitten by another animal that already has it—rodents, raccoons, bats, and other small mammals are often cited with carrying and spreading rabies. These types of animals have been known to stow away in barns, so making sure you check your horse stalls for these animals can help reduce the risk of your horses getting bit.
If you think that your horse may have contracted a strain of rabies, then be cautious when handling them even if you are not sure that they have it. Treat every case as if they do have the virus so that you do not risk your own exposure. If you have been in contact with a horses saliva after they have shown signs of having rabies, then you should immediately contact your doctor and get treated.
The quicker you get treated, for you and your animal, the better. The truth is that rabies is very hard to detect in horses, and though it is rare that they contract this disease it is a long road to recovery when they do. If you have any questions of concerns that your horse may have contracted rabies then you can take your animals to a professional at the Littleton Equine Medical Center or Colorado Equine Clinic.