Equine Borreliosis (Lyme Disease):
Borreliosis in horses – High rates of seropositivity have been recorded from many regions of the UK and clinical cases certainly occur in a percentage of animals.
Clinical Signs & Symptoms vary and include:
Behavioural changes and spooking
Pyrexia – generally mild fever and often overlooked
Lethargy – weakness and/or loss of energy
Anorexia – loss of appetite leading to weight loss and loss of condition
General stiffness / lameness
Myalgia – muscle soreness
Synovial effusions – excessive synovial fluid in joints
Laminitis – inflammation of the sensitive plates of soft tissue (laminae) in the hoof
Hyperaesthesia – excessive sensitivity to touch and sound
Ataxia – loss of coordination
Uveitis- inflammation of the eye,moon blindness, periodic ophthalmia
Making a definitive diagnosis can be problematic. Current laboratory support which involves finding a positive Borrelia antibody titre in horses with suspicious clinical signs has several limitations. Animals can take up to 3 months to seroconvert following infection and therefore many early cases will prove seronegative. Another problem is that the animal may become infected and seroconvert without showing any clinical signs. Animals may also remain seropositive for a very long time following treatment, which makes it difficult to determine whether a successful resolution has been achieved.
The C6 ELISA (which targets the membrane protein V1sE) is usually the initial screening method of choice. In experimental infections, animals became seropositive within 3-5 weeks of infection and BEFORE presenting clinical signs. In successfully treated animals, antibody titres waned more rapidly than with other test methods. N.B. This may still take several months.
See research – http://www.visavissymposiums.org/veterinary/vet-research/
There are no licensed vaccines against Borreliosis for horses in the UK.