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Tick-borne diseases in horses

With spring and summer, come ticks. They thrive in moist environments, tall grass, and undergrowth. Although horses are usually not particularly concerned about tick infestations, they can be infected by tick diseases.
Tick-borne diseases in horses

Lyme disease and anaplasmosis are two diseases that ticks can carry, however, not all ticks carry bacteria. It can be difficult to establish if horse is suffering from one of these diseases.

Prevent tick-borne diseases in horses

A tick bite on your horse doesn't automatically mean it is infected. It's still good to get into the habit of inspecting your horse every day so you can quickly find and remove any ticks. The longer a tick remains, the greater the risk of your horse becoming infected.

Anaplasmosis in horses

Anaplasmosis (formerly called ehrlichiosis) is a tick-borne disease, spread via tick bites. Common symptoms are high fever, swollen legs, unsteadiness, and reduced general condition and appetite. Sometimes yellowish mucous membranes can also be seen.

Not all infected horses show symptoms of illness.

Diagnosis of anaplasmosis

Preliminary diagnosis of anaplasmosis is based on clinical symptoms. The diagnosis is then confirmed by PCR analysis or by microscopy of blood smears. Through PCR analysis, the bacteria's DNA can be detected in the horse's blood.

Treatment of anaplasmosis

If your horse shows symptoms and the sampling shows a positive result, treatment is usually primarily with anti-inflammatory medication and rest. Antibiotics may also be needed if your horse exhibits serious and non-transitory symptoms.

Antibody control

Antibody control can be done to measure how many antibodies have been formed, which depends on how severe the infection was. The test result will show if your horse has been in contact with the bacteria at some point, but not when.

The fact that a horse has high levels of antibodies doesn't necessarily mean that it is affected by disease.

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