You, Your horse, and Tick-Borne Disease (TBD)

For those who have not been closely associated with a chronic case of Lyme or other TBD, you may be under the impression that a TBD is a minor issue. Just give it 14 days of antibiotics and you are cured. What’s the big deal?

Just as Sarcocystis neurona has different strains with varying virulence, so do Lyme and Babesia. If a nymph tick with a virulent strain bites you, you may spend the rest of your life trying to fight the disease.  This is no laughing matter for my family, including the pets. My DH and I are both fighting Lyme, and one dog and both horses carry a titer to it.

Cornell University has applied for a grant to study the relationship of Lyme with co-infections of other TBD in horses. They want to study why it is so hard for some horses to get rid of Lyme. It can produce neurologic symptoms similar to EPM. Many human doctors are too busy denying that chronic Lyme exists (infections longer than 6 months).

Hold on to your seats; MAJOR rant coming. My daughter could go to the doctor and get a one-year prescription for 100 mg doxycycline to treat acne. The doctor/insurance company doesn’t bat an eye at this use of antibiotics.  I go to the doctor for a major neurological disease, and am told that after 14 days of antibiotics, whatever symptoms I have left I will have for life. I now have rheumatoid arthritis. No more 100 mg doxycycline will be prescribed. This is a common scenario.

Wake up people. TBD’s are in every state. They are in epidemic proportions in Pennsylvania. I have Babesia. This disease is now reportable to CDC, the first step toward a surveillance program. I will never be able to donate blood again, because I have had a major disease that can be transmitted by blood. Kids are at high risk for Lyme, and rarely get an accurate diagnosis.

All species of ticks are now known to carry Lyme in the US. Lyme is now in Europe, where it has been documented in mosquitoes. The CDC will not fund a study in the US to see what the vectors are here. I have to wonder if the insurance companies are lobbying to squash research.

PBS is again airing the Lyme Disease documentary “Under Our Skin”. Ask your local PBS station to present this, or find it on CD at the library. Check out the information from the University of Rhode Island Tick Encounter.

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