What “fa­tigue” may mean

EQUUS - - Eq Letters -

“Con­di­tion­ing Lite” (Hands On, EQUUS 487) de­scribed the signs of over­tax­ing a horse on his first spring trail rides: He seems ex­hausted when you fin­ish, his breath­ing doesn’t re­turn to nor­mal within 10 min­utes af­ter fast work, and he seems “ouchy” the day af­ter you ride.

These be­hav­iors and signs are also clas­sic for Lyme dis­ease! In al­most 20 years of own­ing two horses in an area where Lyme dis­ease is com­mon, I’ve ac­cu­mu­lated quite a bit of anec­do­tal in­for­ma­tion. I’ve also worked closely with my vet­eri­nar­ian and com­bined my be­hav­ioral ob­ser­va­tions with vet­eri­nary check­ups and many, many blood sam­ples sent to Cor­nell Univer­sity for Lyme titers.

When ei­ther of my oth­er­wise tough Mor­gans acted ouchy when groomed, seemed dis­in­ter­ested in go­ing out for a trail ride and/or be­came out of breath as de­scribed, it al­ways turned out to be Lyme. Within two to three weeks af­ter start­ing a course of doxy­cy­cline, the signs van­ish like magic.

I would en­cour­age other horse own­ers to be alert to the many and some­times baf­fling signs of Lyme dis­ease. If some­thing just seems “off” about your horse, it’s a pos­si­bil­ity that might be worth in­ves­ti­gat­ing. Pam Harder Cropseyvil­le, New York

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