One tick pony: Mt. A study focusses on Lyme disease in horses – New Brunswick

A new study being conducted at Mount Allison University aims to shed light on Lyme disease in horses in New Brunswick.

Emma Bush, a fourth-year biology student, is spearheading the project under the supervision of Dr. Vett Lloyd, a biologist and leader in Canadian tick and Lyme research.

Looking for horses to test

“We’re really interested in the prevalence of Lyme disease in the province, in horses,” Bush said.

“No one has looked at that before and so we don’t really have any information from New Brunswick to be looking at. This is all new for both myself and Dr.Lloyd.”

Bush said she’s looking to collaborate with anyone who has horses, especially if their horse spends time in areas with high grass, trees or trails, as they pose higher risks for tick bites.

Symptoms of Lyme disease, which is spread through ticks, include fever, headache, fatigue and a bullseye rash. (Associated Press/Victoria Arocho)

“We want owners to be aware and searching for ticks on their horses,” she said. “First of all, it’s important for horse health and second of all, because we want to study the ticks found on the horses to see if they have the borrelia bacteria that spread Lyme disease.”

Bush wants to study symptoms after a horse is bitten by a tick.

‘He just wasn’t swooshing his tail like the others at the flies and I thought, “that’s odd.'”
– Lisa Boudreau

She also wants to review blood samples.

Current testing methods for Lyme disease in horses are not appropriate because they’re based off the canine lyme disease test.

“There are two main [tests], and we want to figure out which one is best,” she said

According to Bush, Lloyd was looking to research horses and Lyme disease, but no one before her had a strong connection with horses.

Around horses since childhood

Bush has been involved in the horse community since she was nine years old and has competed since the age of 12.

“I get to combine my two worlds,” she said. “I get to combine my…

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