Seasonal Allergies in Equines

Equine allergies can arise from various causes, including medications, vaccines, food, shampoo, fly spray, fabric, dust, mold, pollen, insects, and more. Out of these causes, insects and airborne allergens are some of the most significant problems for equines as the weather changes. Seasonal allergies cause discomfort and allergic reactions in horses during certain times of the year. Read on to learn more about common seasonal allergies in equines and how to help! 

Causes and Reactions

Biting flies, the saliva in mosquitoes, midges, stable flies, horse flies, mold, pollen, and dust can generate an allergic reaction in your horse. In extreme cases, an allergic reaction to some of these pests is called sweet itch. This is one of the most common seasonal allergies observed in horses. It’s essential to be attentive to signs of sweet itch, so you can identify the problem early and develop a treatment plan that will be as effective as possible. 

Mold is another common cause of seasonal allergies. Mold may grow in hay during the warmer months, in addition to dust. Both can be a pest with certain bedding types or hay, so be sure to constantly check your equine’s hay to avoid any mold growth. Additionally, similar to people, horses can generate allergies to certain pollens from various plants.

Your horse can show a reaction to seasonal allergies with raised bumps on the neck, flanks, and body often referred to as hives. Because of intense itching due to allergens, you may notice patches of hair loss and recurrent airway obstruction, which can lead to coughing. Another critical sign of seasonal allergies is exercise intolerance or behavioral changes due to difficulty breathing.

Lastly, one of the most problematic seasonal allergic reactions seen in horses is called heaves. Heaves is the most common lung disease seen in horses, caused by an allergic reaction to various inhaled particles. The condition can dangerously affect a horse’s well-being, and the inflammation can be so extreme in some cases that horses can have severe difficulty breathing. You should contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your horse suffers from heaves. Symptoms you may notice include a chronic cough, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or nasal discharge. 

Treating Seasonal Allergies

Intradermal skin testing is the most common way of diagnosing and developing a treatment and management plan for skin and respiratory allergies in equines. Your vet can inject your horse with up to 50-60 different allergens and assess how your horse reacts to them. A positive reaction can strongly indicate the possible allergen that causes the seasonal allergy symptoms. These tests are also a great way to help build vaccines against allergens! 

Another helpful treatment for seasonal allergies is adding supplements to your horse's feed to boost their immunity. Many studies have found that adding a concentrated DHA supplement to your horse's ration can be immensely beneficial in managing their seasonal allergy symptoms.  

At Equine Medical and Surgical Associates, we understand that seasonal allergies in horses can be stressful, but with the proper care, they are manageable! In addition, your veterinarian is a valuable resource who can provide diagnostics to determine causes and guide handling symptoms. 

Heave Ho is the perfect supplement for chronically allergic airway/COPD/Asthma horses that need help breathing! The Heave Ho program is 4 easy steps to better breathing in only 14 days. The ingredients in the Heave Ho supplement are natural herbs, high dose vitamin E, and balanced minerals. These herbs help in fortifying your horse’s immune system using phytonutrients, immune modulators, adaptogens to help deal with the stress of breathing issues, and anti-inflammatories. Heave Ho comes in two flavors – Molasses and Sugar-Free apple for Insulin Resistant or Cushing’s horses. One Scoop in the morning and evening for the first seven days, then one scoop in the morning after that. Most horses respond rapidly in 10-14 days with improved respiratory rates, less cough, and calmer attitudes from being able to breathe better.  A handy concentrate is shipped to you for easy storage.

For more information and management steps to help your horse, visit our website today!

*Proper diet and exercise are essential for horse health. This product is a supplement to help maintain horse health. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.