Stay Vigilant Concerning Tickborne Diseases

Adult Deer Tick

Adult Deer Tick

It’s nearly a daily reality, that I hear about a person or horse contracting a tickborne illness.  I thought it would be prudent to review the facts and share helpful resources.  Not all medical professionals are well versed in tick borne diseases, even in high risk regions, so I encourage you to get educated.  Here on the east coast, at least nine diseases are transmitted by ticks and they include:

  • Anaplasmosis: deer tick
  • Babesiosis: deer tick
  • Borrelia miyamotoi infection: deer tick
  • Ehrlichiosis: lone star tick
  • Lyme disease: deer tick
  • Powassan disease: deer tick/groundhog tick, primarily in the northeast and Great Lakes
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever: dog tick/Rocky Mountain wood tick
  • STARI: lone star tick
  • Tularemia: dog tick/wood tick/lone star tick

The 2014 CDC Tickborne Diseases Manual, does a great job identifying ticks, describing disease symptoms, explaining testing methods and details current treatment protocols.  The information is presented in easy to read tables.  Without a doubt, preventing tick bites is best.  Ticks are most abundant in tall grassy or leaf covered areas, so when working in high risk environments be prepared.  If possible tuck your pants into a pair of tall boots or socks and then spray your legs with insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET.  Several outdoor apparel manufacturers now offer clothing treated with permethrin.

Should you find an engorged tick on your body, prophylaxis may be helpful if the following conditions exist: 1) the tick is identified as an engorged deer tick and was attached for at least 24 hours, 2) the patient resides in an area where the prevalence of Lyme disease in ticks is greater than 20% and 3) prophylaxis can be started within 72 hours of tick removal.  Review page 29 of the CDC manual for more information, then consult with your physician.

Please know the Lord desires to partner with you in protecting your health.  It is neither selfish nor foolish, to pray for good health and ask the Lord to alert you to potential dangers in a manner you will understand.  You need a healthy body to be a good steward to your horses.  Jesus models effective prayer for us through his own words recorded in Matthew 6:9-13:  “This, then, is how you should pray. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one”.  In the center of this prayer lies a gem … your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…  Tickborne diseases do not exist in heaven, therefore we can freely ask for protection for ourselves, our loved ones and our horses!   Have a great tick free week and join me next time for a discussion of tickborne diseases in horses.

My Journey With Raina – Forming a New Partnership

Photo by Emily Covington

Photo by Emily Covington

Thanks for your patience in waiting for the final installment of “My Journey With Raina”. I have been away on a hiking retreat but I am happy to be back with you!  The challenge of building a new relationship with Raina lay before me, and the Lord made clear that my heart towards her needed to become softer and more peaceful. Providentially, the Lord put in place the pieces I needed. I had the good fortune to attend a clinic with legendary horseman, Buck Brannaman, which reconnected me to my “natural horsemanship” roots. Continue reading

My Journey With Raina – Moving Through Loss To Hope

Stephen and I

Stephen and  I

Within a year, I grieved several losses including my beloved brother whom I adored.  Alongside the sadness came increased care giving responsibilities, leaving my heart heavy and my energy depleted.  Raina in particular felt the shift.  Because of her sensitive nature, she needs me to be peaceful and undistracted when I enter into her world.  Continue reading

My Journey With Raina – Finding Healing

Playing to the camera

Playing to the camera!

As a young horse, Raina really enjoyed playing exuberantly in her field, earning a muscle tear at age 4 and a low limb contusion at age 5.  Both injuries required stall rest, cold therapy and NSAID support.  Raina really missed her pasture friends during stall confinement, so I entertained her by rotating stall toys, developed a program of core building and stretching exercises and put her on a natural supplement to prevent ulcers.  Despite these precautions however, Raina developed symptoms of an ulcer after her second injury. Continue reading

My Journey with Raina – The Beginning

BW-Raina at DAD.  Handled by Mårten Walter.

BW-Raina at DAD. Handled by Mårten Walter.

My lovely Raina is the daughter of Royal Prince and our imported mare, SPS Danina.  Born on a miserably wet day in 2005, she was the first foal my son helped me deliver.  Raina was well received at her Hanoverian inspection and later that year took us to the Breeder’s Group Championship at Dressage at Devon.  In the summer of her 3-year-old year, she was started in-house by Emily Covington and Martina Thiel-Poblotzki.  As with all of our youngsters, Raina was offered for sale.  Though we had a number of showings, no one offered to make her their own.  As the months passed, I heard the Lord’s gentle voice prompting me to develop and retain her. What I did not realize at the time, was the many challenges that lay ahead.  The next three years brought two soft tissue injuries followed by a confusing mix of fore and hind gut issues.  In 2013, Raina was diagnosed with and treated for Lyme disease.  Continue reading

How Hiking Helps My Riding

Bryce Canyon, UT

Bryce Canyon, UT

I became a true lover of mountain hiking in 2010. Since then I have hiked through the Shenandoah Valley, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the state parks of Utah, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, the Black Mountains in North Carolina and along the Appalachian Trail in New York and Pennsylvania. There is something so transforming about being in very high places and gazing out on God’s untouched creation. Continue reading