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Betsy Carter’s Horse Scene: Lyme disease time bomb is just a tick away

Because winter was so mild and spring was so early and warm, ticks have also come earlier than usual. Ticks have become a pest of importance, not just annoyance, because they can cause Lyme disease, which can cause all sorts of lameness problems.

To combat the problem, regular grooming of the horse is essential, including extra attention to the mane and tail where ticks like to hide and bite. However, once the tick has bitten, it is too late since it may or may not be a black-legged (or deer) tick, and it may or may not be infected. But once you remove a tick from your horse, you will at least know to start watching for signs of the disease.

The telltale sign on people who have been bitten is the red, target-shaped rash. But this rash is not visible on horses because their coat will usually cover it.

Unfortunately, the first symptom that your horse has Lyme disease may be overlooked

as a behavioral or training issue.

The bad behavior may manifest itself as flinching away from being brushed or kicking out at having his girth or cinch tightened. In fact, he may not want to be touched at all.

If left untreated, the horse will eventually develop pain and inflammation in his joints, which will look like arthritis, hock or stifle problems.

If you’ve determined your horse has Lyme disease and have caught it in its early stages, you can treat the horse with a month of Doxycicline antibiotic, and he will be cured.


    June 1–3: Boumi Temple

    June 2–3: Robert Duvall Children’s Jumper show at Fox Chase; Deep Run; Lee-Jackson Classic Appaloosa show, VHC,

    June 2: Whitestssone; Moriah; Kelly’s Ford; River Chase; Oakland Heights; VADACC @Saddlebrook; Craig County Young Farmers Southwest District 4H State Qualifying show.

    June 3: Lake of the Woods; Hunter Lane; Moriah; Homestead dressage; Hear The Beat Gymkhanna at VHC

    June 4–10: Upperville

    June 8–10: VADA/NoVA dressge and Young Horse Selection Trials at Morven Park

    June 9: Silver Star; Carlton; Millington dressage.

    June 10: EKG; The Hunter Experience; Red Gate; Hollow Oaks; Oakland Heights; Touch Point dressage; Presley Ridge Fun show.

    June 13: Touch Point Hunter;

    June 13–17: Loudon at Upper Marlboro

    June 16: Four Oaks; Coventry; United Show Series @ Sandstone; Sunrise Horse Trials and Combined Test: VADA/NoVA dressage at Frying Pan park; BBHSA; VaApHC Trail Challenge at Andora Farm; Franklin County 4H Trailblazers.

    June 16–17: Old Dominion POAC show

    June 17: Hazelwild; Speakeasy; South Run; BBHSA; Bedford County 4H.

    June 18–23: Roanoke

    June 19: Woodpecker Pony show; TWA Jumpers at Culpeper.

    June 20: Fox Chase; Picturesque.

    June 20–24: Deep Run

    June 23: Summerplace; Bellemount; USS at Sunny’s Corner; Evergreen dressage; ShenVADA at Bright Moon Farm; Va. Palomino Show Chesterfield; Trail Challenge Clinic Cornerstone.

    June 24: EKG; Moriah; Cedar Springs @ Warrenton; Summerduck; Homestead dressage.

    June 26: Woodpecker Horse Show; Oakland Heights.

    June 26–27: House Mountain.

    June 27: Touch Point; Fox Chase.

    June 27–July 1: Warrenton Pony Show

    June 29–July 1: VHSA Associate Summer Show at Deep Run

    June 30: Wavertree dressage; JCHSS dressage; Cedar Creek HT CT and dressage.

    June 30–July 1: Looking Glass Farm dressage

Betsy Carter can be reached at The Free Lance–Star, 616 Amelia St., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401; or by fax at 540/373-8455.

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