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Arthritis, panuveitis and hyperaesthesia associated with Borrelia afzelii infection in a warmblood gelding
  1. Sophia Sommerauer1,
  2. Klaas-Ole Blohm2,
  3. Joachim Spergser3 and
  4. Heinz Hans Florian Buchner1
  1. 1Department for Companion Animals and Horses, Equine Clinic, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  2. 2Department for Companion Animals and Horses, Ophthalmology Unit, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  3. 3Institute of Bacteriology, Mycology and Hygiene, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sophia Sommerauer; sophia.sommerauer{at}


A 13-year-old warmblood gelding presented with a history of lameness, muscle atrophy and weight loss of 3 months. The horse demonstrated extensive hyperaesthesia over the left dorsal trunk, marked effusion of several joints, laryngitis and a dampened mental attitude. Synovial fluid analysis revealed arthritis of the left tarsocrural joint, being PCR-positive for Borreliaafzelii DNA. Subsequently, mild anterior uveitis of the right and severe panuveitis of the left eye with B. afzelii PCR-positive aqueous and vitreous humour, respectively, were diagnosed. Treatment included arthroscopy of the left tarsocrural joint, oral doxycycline administration for 6 weeks, ophthalmic and systemic anti-inflammatory therapy and left intravitreal preservative-free gentamicin (4 mg) injection. After initial improvement, the gelding’s clinical signs deteriorated resulting in peracute recumbency and sudden death 12 months later. Lyme borreliosis should be considered as differential diagnosis in complex cases of equine lameness, particularly when accompanied by hyperaesthesia and bilateral uveitis.

  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • polyarthritis
  • doxycycline
  • gentamicin
  • uveitis
  • equine Lyme disease
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  • Contributors SS and K-OB contributed equally to this paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article.

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