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The Dangers of Ticks and Lyme Disease in Horses

Riding in forests and long grass leaves you and your horse vulnerable to ticks. Find out how to deal with them, and reduce the risk of Lyme disease.

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By: Nicole Kitchener |

You spot a couple of ticks on your horse while you’re grooming. “Oh no,” you worry. “Could he get Lyme disease?” Thankfully, that’s most likely not the case. Not all ticks carry the Lyme-causing bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and an estimated 90-95% of infected horses don’t actually get sick. But when horses do develop clinical illness, Lyme disease is usually a mysterious and frustrating beast. It presents with a wide range of vague symptoms that mimic many other conditions. “It’s a hard disease to diagnose, very, very difficult,” said Dr. Carla Francheville, owner of Sunny Coast Veterinary, a practice based in Nova Scotia, Florida and soon New York as well. As the bacterium travels through the bloodstream, it can cause localized inflammation affecting various tissues in the body such as joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, organs and the brain. Symptoms may appear immediately, within weeks, or even years down the road. Often,…

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