Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Dreaded Diagnosis

The videos of the Hunt Races showed me Hudson in a way I don't normally see her.  Usually, I'm on top of her, or she's hanging around the paddock or pasture.  I don't normally see her at work with a rider. 

What I saw created a mixed reaction in me.  The first was dismay.  Her body is so big, and fairly fat, even after a summer of conditioning.  This concerned me.  The other reaction, I have to say, was laughter.  I knew she had short legs, but they looked even shorter in videos, churning away under that big body as we galloped toward the finish line.  She is a definitely the living image of a Thelwell pony, supersized.

My concern for her weight made me start thinking about her health, so I recently had the vet by to draw some blood.  First, I wanted to know that she wasn't insulin resistant, as some fat horses are.  Then, I wanted to see how her thyroid is functioning.  Finally, I wanted to make sure her vitamin E is high enough, since it has been low in the past and it is necessary for muscle health and to help selenium work. 

The vet recommended we run a Lyme test as well, since there has been a fair amount of Lyme in the area this year. 

<Side rant: I HATE TICKS.  They are completely diabolical.>

The results have been trickling in this week.  E is low normal.  Selenium is a little low (will up the supplement).  Glucose/IR tests are normal.  That's a big relief.  A couple of her thyroid tests are abnormal, so that's something to look into.

The show stopper for me was the Lyme result, though.  I was shocked to learn that she is positive for a low level of chronic Lyme. 

This was a complete surprise to me.  I have never seen a tick on her, but the little bastards manage to attach themselves to spots where you wouldn't notice them, under the jaw, on the tail, under the mane. 

It made me remember the time several years ago when she suddenly came up sick, fever, lethargic.  The vet at that time drew blood, found high white blood cells and called it pneumonia.  We put her on a couple weeks of antibiotics and she was fine after that.  But it made me wonder -- was that actually Lyme, and we didn't quite completely knock it out with the antibiotics?

I have mixed feelings about Lyme.  I used to think the concept of chronic Lyme was more psychiatric than physical, but as medicine focuses more on it, I'm starting to change my mind.  To have a horse with a chronic Lyme diagnosis has left me totally non-plussed, although the vet has said that 60 to 80 percent of horses get Lyme. 

The problem with chronic Lyme is it's hard to get rid of it.  And then, the liklihood of reinfection is, obviously, high.  Hudson will have to be on a long program of antibiotics, which is not good for anyone's system.  But I will go that route, because I want to try to get rid of something that could be impacting her health and causing her pain.

Minocyline, here we come.


  1. Just had a detailed conversation with Dr. C. about Lyme yesterday. It's a thing. I'll be testing the BBW in the next couple of weeks. Take heart; it's chronic, yes, but the word is that treatment can bring remarkable results!

    1. I'm going to have to get Starlight tested when Dr. C comes back with the antibiotic.

  2. Scheduling an appointment for my guy for this week to get tested. It's certainly running rampant this year!

    1. Good luck! I hope it's negative.