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Help for a Horse with Lyme Disease

My 21-year-old Thoroughbred suffers from chronic lameness and was recently diagnosed with Lyme’s disease.  He completed his month long treatment of doxycycline and appears to be slightly improved.  He gets Phenylbutazone daily as well as SmartPak Senior. Is there anything else we can supplement to make him more comfortable? TAP, New Jersey

Dear TAP,

I’m guessing when you say your horse gets “SmartPak Senior” that you actually mean our SmartFlex Senior?  That’s our joint supplement for older horses that is chock full of all the important joint ingredients (glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, MSM), plus herbs with activity against pain and inflammation, antioxidants to fight stress, and digestive support via probiotics, prebiotics and enzymes.  Whew.  Your horse is already getting a lot just in this one supplement to make him feel better and to help his body heal!

I have a couple more ideas for you though.  One is adding Omega 3 Fatty Acids.  I can’t think of any situations where adding this family of fatty acids–with their proven anti-inflammatory effects—isn’t beneficial.  The same thing applies to APF, a one-of-a-kind supplement containing adaptogens, herbs that dial the body’s various systems (immune, metabolism, neuromuscular) back to normal, whether the system was “out of whack” too high or too low.  APF protects against the negative effects of stress on the cells and tissues of the body and I would say your horse has been through a lot of stress lately!  Vitamin E is also a very safe choice and an antioxidant I recommend to anyone whose horse suffers from muscular or neurological problems.  It seems to target (and repair) these tissues especially.

Finally, you’re already restoring microorganisms to the GI tract that were probably killed off during the doxycycline (antibiotic) treatment and that’s great.  However, in addition to replacing the normal flora and fauna of the stomach and intestines, you may want to think about specific protection against gastric and colonic ulcers, since your horse is still on “bute,” a potent non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has specifically been shown to cause ulcers.  Look for stomach supplements that contain antacids or soothing herbs, and look for hindgut supplements that contain polar lipids, oat beta glucan, and amino acids or specific buffers against acid formation.

Lydia F. Gray, DVM, MA SmartPak Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director Dr. Lydia Gray has earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and a Master of Arts focusing on interpersonal and organizational communication. After “retiring” from private practice, she put her experience and education to work as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s first-ever Director of Owner Education. Dr. Gray continues to provide health and nutrition information to horse owners through her position at SmartPak, through publication in more than a dozen general and trade publications, and through presentations around the country. She is the very proud owner of a Trakehner named Newman that she actively competes with in dressage and combined driving. In addition to memberships in the USDF and USEF, Dr. Gray is also a member of the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association (IDCTA). She is a USDF “L” Program Graduate and is currently working on her Bronze Medal. Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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