HEALTH CHECK: Dr Sinead Devine from University College Dublin’s Animal Chiropractic Clinic taking blood samples from Killarney Jaunting Cars team of horses as a precaution against Lyme’s Disease.
By Sean Moriarty
Killarney Jaunting Cars has taken the unusual step of testing its 40-strong team of horses for Lyme Disease due to their exposure to ticks in the National Park.
There have been repeated calls for Lyme Disease information signs to be placed in the National Park with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Killarney Municipal District at constant loggerheads over who is responsible for placing the signs in the park.
Lyme disease is an infection that is transmitted by a bite from an infected tick.
The issue is particularly relevant to Killarney National Park as deer are considered prime carriers of infected ticks.
The infection is generally mild, affecting only the skin, but can sometimes be more severe, leading to more serious illness and even death.
At the most recent KMD meeting Mayor Brendan Cronin called for an update on the provision of signs warning of the dangers of Lyme Disease at the entrances to the park.
Internal signs are the responsibility of the NPWS and apart from signs placed at some entrances by the Council there has been no further action on signage within the park’s boundaries.
This week, Killarney Jaunting Cars was visited by experts from University College Dublin’s Animal Chiropractic Clinic who examined their horses to make sure they were not carrying ticks as a precautionary measure and as part of the horses’ annual health checks.
Results of the blood tests taken by the experts, and sent to the USA for examination, will be known in about three weeks time.
While there is no risk of cross-contamination between the horses and humans it could lead to muscle problems with the animals.
“We are a fifth generation jarvey family and we never done anything like this before,” Michael Tangney of Killarney Jaunting Cars told the Killarney Advertiser. “It looks like it could become part of the annual health check for the horses in the same way way we check their teeth every year.”