The study, “Retrospective Evaluation of Horses Diagnosed with Neuroborreliosis on Postmortem Examination: 16 Cases (2004-2015),” was published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Laura Johnstone, BVSc, MVSc, of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine at New Bolton Center, lead a team of researchers to review medical records from 16 horses diagnosed at autopsy with Neuroborreliosis. (Lyme Disease is caused by a spirochete, borrelia, and is called Neuroborreliosis once it has entered the Central Nervous System.  There are currently 300 strains of borrelia worldwide.)

Clinical signs included weight loss, loss of coordination, muscle twitches, muscle wasting, stiff neck, uveitis (eye inflammation), fever, joint swelling, cardiac arrhythmia, respiratory distress, and difficulty swallowing.

Examination of nervous and other tissues revealed lesions unique to NB, differentiating it from other known causes of neurologic disease in horses, and consistent with those reported in humans with NB.

Study authors recommend veterinarians consider NB as a differential diagnosis in horses displaying associated clinical signs.