Equine Lyme Disease


Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick, most commonly deer ticks.  This can infect many parts of the body including skin, muscles, joints, heart, eyes, and nervous system.

Lyme disease can be a difficult disease to diagnose and some horses will never develop any symptoms.  Clinical signs can often be vague and be very similar to signs of other diseases. 

Some documented signs of Lyme disease in horses include:

  • Uveitis
  • Swollen joints
  • Skin masses/nodules (usually at the areas where the ticks bite)
  • Neuroborreliosis (rare form of the disease)-muscle wasting, fever, difficulty eating, and skin          sensitivity

Some undocumented but possible signs of Lyme disease might include:

  • Lethargy
  • Stiffness
  • Lameness
  • Change in behavior

At this time there is not a vaccine that has been approved for Lyme disease prevention in horses.  The best way to prevent this disease is the reduce tick bite exposure.  For example, if you have lots of brush with leaves and long grasses, you can remove from the property.  You can also spray your horse and do thorough checks on their body each day for ticks.

Note that horses are considered dead-end hosts and cannot pass the disease on to humans or animals.

If you have any questions or want more information about Lyme disease please call our office at 336-349-4080!


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