As we are all aware, Lyme disease is a way too common in our area. Some friends who live farther away may not realize the disease is actually named for Lyme, CT, where the disease was first diagnosed in 1982 (about 25 miles from our house. In fact, the disease was diagnosed at Subase New London (according to a display I saw on base). While some still believe Lyme is a temporary illness that is gone after a simple round of antibiotics, I am not one of them. I truly believe based on my experience and observation that Lyme, while occasionally short-lived, is frequently a life long problem once contracted. I want to share a few quick things just in case it might help someone dealing with Lyme. I’m not a doctor and I’m not a vet. These are just my thoughts and experience, so take it or leave it.
Lyme in people and horses
First, even if you had a negative Lyme test or never saw a bullseye rash, that doesn’t mean you are not dealing with Lyme. The estimates vary dramatically, but there is general agreement that the Lyme tests are not perfect and false negatives are not uncommon. In our family, Anna has had Lyme for years, Amanda was born with it (possibly got it in-utero from Anna), and I now believe many of the symptoms I thought were related to my concussion in 2013 (migraines and memory problems in particular) were actually Lyme related, even though I tested negative for all tick-born diseases.
Symptoms that might be an indicator you are dealing with undiagnosed Lyme in your horse:
unexplained, and inconsistent lameness
stiffness resembling arthritis
hypersensitivity to touch
Unexplained muscle loss, especially along the topline
general poor performance (more apparent as a reduction in performance in competitive horses)
For people, symptoms may include, but certainly not limited to:
lack of energy
memory loss or degradation
swelling and joint pain (similar to arthritis)
numbness of hands and feet
I listen to podcasts from The Horse Radio Network and the founder, Glenn, shared his story about Lyme a couple of years ago. That got me to start noticing a lot more about Lyme. Recently, they did a revisit to the topic. If you are still interested in what I have written so far, I HIGHLY recommend you take the time to listen to this single podcast.
There are some alternative treatments that don’t require large doses of antibiotics, which is sort of the point of this post.
Dr. Tobin is a holistic vet that has done some extensive research on Lyme, and specifically has identified Ledum as a treatment that is effective in animals and humans. Now, I will say this is not something we have used yet on our own farm, however, I have a friend who used it on her horses that had chronic Lyme, and had been through multiple rounds of Doxycycline without success. She tried Ledum and saw a dramatic improvement in her horse in under 48 hours. Here is a link to the article from Dr. Tobin and more information about Ledum. Check our the entire website for some interesting alternative views to traditional medicine.
For people, we were turned on to Silver Biotics by a friend. We have used Silver Biotics, purchased via Amazon and noticed subtle results. The Silver Biotics aid your immune system by killing the spirochetes of Lyme. It’s not ucommon to feel a little worse initially as the spirochetes die off. The changes were actually more apparent when the Silver Biotics were stopped. For me, I had some chiropractic adjustments to my neck at the same time I was taking the Silver Biotics. My migraines ended and my memory challenges faded away. However, after not taking the Silver Biotics for almost 2 months, the memory lapses returned. For Anna, the joint pain and stiffness seemed to lessen when taking the Silver Biotics, but returned when she stopped. Now, this is far from definitive evidence, but the silver is not very expensive (the dose is only 1tsp 1-3 times a day, and we just take 1 dose at breakfast) and has been helpful to both of us. Care needs to be taken not to overdose on silver as it can turn your skin permanently blue. It is also toxic in large quantities.
There are many other alternative treatments for Lyme disease. It’s not about the right answer, but rather what works for you. I encourage everyone to keep an open mind and be willing to learn. If you have other treatments that have worked, please leave a comment below!