Lyme disease in horses and cattle

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Lyme disease has been diagnosed in humans, dogs, cats, horses, goat, sheep and cattle. 

 

Prevention

Grooming to detect ticks and prompt removal will help to minimize the risk of contracting Lyme disease.  On horses, ticks are most likely to be found around the head, throat area, stomach, or under the tail.  Ticks can be removed with tweezers by grasping the mouth parts of the tick adjacent to the skin and gently pulling back.  If not done properly, the mouth parts of the tick can remain imbedded in the animal.  If you are uncertain about the proper method for removing ticks, or would like information on tick repellents available, consult your veterinarian.

 

For horses and livestock, reducing tick habitat can prevent exposure to Lyme disease.  This can be accomplished by keeping pastures mowed down to make areas less desirable for ticks, and by removing brush and wood piles from pasture areas to deter rodents that may carry ticks.

 

Symptoms

Symptoms of Lyme disease in horses and cattle may include lameness, joint pain and/or stiffness, shifting from limb to limb, and weight loss.

Cattle may also develop a fever and horses may exhibit behavioral changes.  Most cattle and horses do not display any symptoms of the disease.

 

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Lyme disease in horses and cattle is based on risk of exposure, clinical symptoms and blood testing.

 

Treatment

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics, and the animal normally response within a few days of treatment.