Monday, April 1, 2013

back at it!

The lyme test came back late last week and I was very disappointed because it was not a strong positive like I wanted. Lyme would have been the easiest fix and I wouldn't have had to keep going with the diagnostics to see why she was lame. I had just assumed lyme was the culprit because I live in a highly tick-infested area and most people just assume that their horse has been exposed to a tick carrying lyme.

We did the Multiplex test through Cornell in upstate New York, and that tells you whether or not there is an infection, and how advanced the infection is. Titres don't always tell the whole story because a horse who has a high titre may not actually have an active infection. Confusing, I know.

For anyone interested, her results were:

OspA Value: 116 (negative)
OspC Value: 1068 (low positive)
OspF Value: 1221 (Equivocal)

Explanation for the above results:

Lyme Dis. Equine - Multiplex The Lyme multiplex assay determines antibodies to three antigens , called 'outer surface proteins (Osp)', of B. burgdorferi which have been shown to correlate with vaccinal antibodies, or acute and chronic stages of Lyme disease.

Negative: Negative values for antibodies to all three Osp antigens are predictive that the horse is not infected. If only one or two values are in the negative range see interpretation for equivocal or positive values for the corresponding Osp antigen.

Equivocal: Equivocal values can indicate very early infection or can be induced by non-specific serum reactions. If there are no positive values for any of the three Osp antigens, the horse should be retested in 2-3 weeks to confirm or exclude early infection. If one or two values are in the positive range see interpretation for positive values for that corresponding Osp antigen.

Positive/ OspA (>2000 - 28,000): Positive values for antibodies to OspA are typically observed in vaccinated animals . In horses, however, antibodies to OspA also seem to rise during infection. Thus, the interpretation of results on antibodies to OspA is more complex in horses . If antibodies to OspC and/or OspF are positive, along with OspA, the horse should be considered as infected with B. burgdorferi.

Positive/OspC (>1000 - 10,000): Positive values for antibodies to OspC only are indicative for early infection. Antibody values to OspA can also be elevated during early infection.

Positive/OspF (>1250 - 26,000): Positive values for antibodies to OspF only are predictive for chronic infection stages. Positive values for antibodies to OspC and OspF in the same sample are indicators for an infection that occurred several weeks ago and is moving towards the chronic infection stage.

In plain English, she has a very weak infection that is fairly new. We will still treat this with Doxy because if left alone, it will develop further into a worse infection that will become chronic, but most likely this is not what is causing her lameness issue. There is a slight chance that it IS the culprit, and given how sensitive Lucy is, I would almost not be surprised.

I am still!!!!! waiting for the test results from UC Davis. I am getting pretty darn annoyed that I've had to wait this long. The vet called on Thursday to ask them what the deal was, and they said "oh we only run that test on Friday and we are closed this Friday because it is Good Friday, so you'll have to wait until next week." Two weeks is a long time to wait for them to just simply run this test, especially since a positive result would be a very, very big deal (spay), and if she needs to be spayed, I want to get it done ASAP so she can recover and get back into work before Summer's over!

Since she had two weeks off, and I was going crazy not riding, and she had been prancing around her paddock looking very very sound, I zipped on my crash vest and got back in the saddle yesterday. During her time off, we had been going for a lot of in-hand walks to keep her moving and I spent a lot of time thanking my rope halter for being so helpful because Lucy was such a freak that she would have run right through her normal halter. At least it got her off the property a bit, and I think that helped a lot when it came time to go back to work. I also gave her a very very small dose of Ace, about a quarter of the "normal" dose, as a safety measure on my part. I am not going to be one of those riders who ace their horse every ride, but I do think in this situation it is a good plan, and I have my vets blessing.

about to mount up; Lucy through her Ace-induced haze says, OMG this
mounting block is DELICIOUS!

We started out in the ring and she felt like a piece of cardboard underneath me. I asked for a trot and she got pissy and felt not lame, but not fluid. Maddy was heading out on a trail ride and asked if I wanted to go. I DID want to go but I was worried Lucy would be a freak. I put on my big girl pants, though, and off we went into the wilderness. Lucy impressed everyone with her bravery and good attitude!! The Ace helped, I think, but it definitely wore off before we got back to the barn so our success wasn't all drug-fueled ;) . As it wore off, she felt brighter, walked more deliberately, and started looking all around her. She had a few small spooks (at nothing, of course) but we encountered a guy riding his bike with his dog, and the dog barked its head off at the horses, and Lucy was like, "meh". We walked up some hills, through a little stream, around the whole field, and past the VERY SCARY COUCH, and she was awesome. We even had a little trot! Lucy led and followed, and handled the following fairly well.

terrible quality cell phone photo, but look! happy ears!

We were out on the trails for at least an hour, if not more, and when we got back to the barn I asked her to trot around again in the ring and she felt 100x better than before the long walking trail ride.

As we were trotting, she felt so good, and we had the following conversation:

"Lucy, would you like to canter?"
"No, not really."
"Ok, maybe another time."
"Actually I changed my mind."


And we went in both directions for a few minutes straight each way, and she had zero (ZERO!) tantrums.


So yeah, I may have overdone it ;) but we'll see where she's at today. Despite all of our success yesterday, I will keep going with the vet just to rule out some weird underlying issue.

When I don't ride, I am miserable. Two whole weeks of no riding is a long time for me and that makes me sad and I get frustrated easily. After riding, I just felt so much better.

"thanks girl, I needed that"

Tomorrow I will be posting a new contest! Here are your hints: Spring cleaning, sparkling white, shows, cheeky horses, grooming, East Longmeadow in Massachusetts.


  1. Glad your ride ended up going well. I went years without riding, and didn't realize what a big gap it left until I got back to it. Now even though I don't ride a lot, I miss it when I'm not riding. :)

  2. Hope Davis gets back to you soon!

    Yay for a good ride :)

  3. I hope you get the UC Davis results quickly!

  4. You both look so relaxed and happy in that last photo!

  5. So glad you had a good ride.
    I'm hoping for good news from UC Davis, and soon!

  6. Just wanted to say thank you for this post - I stumbled upon it while trying to find the positive ranges for each Osp value and was struggling to do so... apparently I'm not as good at Googling as I thought :) I knew the difference between A/C/F and my horse came back with a "low positive" result that my vet "wasn't worried about", but I didn't know the actual values until I got my invoice and I wish it hadn't been written off. Your explanation of the results was just what I was looking for!

    1. Hi Kaysee, you're welcome. I could have chosen to not treat this lyme infection as it was so "low", but after doing a bit of research myself, I understood that it would continue to progress and could potentially become "chronic" if left untreated. I would prefer not to deal with chronic lyme and risk my horse's body being damaged further by the infection so I decided to treat right away. I am glad I did. Best wishes for a quick recovery for your horse!


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