Allergic reactions in horsesJust as with us humans, allergic reactions to environmental toxins, medicines or feedstuffs continue to increase in horses. The effects can be very different and range from itching and skin changes to coughing and shortness of breath to colic and allergic shock, which can be fatal. So what can we do to ensure that our horse is spared from such inconveniences or dangers as much as possible?
First of all, the horse's immune system plays the decisive role in all allergic reactions, because it wants to protect our horse from illnesses and stressful external influences. If the sensitive balance in the body is disturbed, however, the immune system can overshoot the mark and react excessively strongly to substances that are actually harmless and foreign to the body, and above all with unexpected consequences.
Allergies can also be severe in horses
We had to experience this ourselves with our warmblood mare Fee, when she was given penicillin due to a bacterial infection. Before we could really realize it, she became very restless, paced back and forth and was covered with pustules all over her body from now on. Good that the veterinarian was able to react immediately and administer a histamine agent. Who knows how it would have turned out otherwise. This incident makes it clear that we must not treat allergies in our horses lightly.
Thank God, most allergic reactions in our horses are not so dramatic, although often no less unpleasant and stressful. Basically, there are various triggers that can lead to corresponding reactions in horses. Insects are the trigger here for most horses, which can also be seen in the increasing cases of sweet itch. Here the immune system reacts mainly to a certain protein in the saliva of mosquitoes and black flies.
Eczema blankets offer a way to protect horses from mosquito bites. However, care should be taken to protect the popular bites under the belly, at the base of the tail, on the mane and on the horse's head. As a supportive measure, an insect spray for horses can be used, although attention must be paid to the ingredients, as some horses are allergic to them. When keeping horses, conditions should also be created that mosquitoes do not love so much. This includes plastic curtains and close-meshed mosquito nets on the horse's stall, regular cleaning and manure storage far away from the stable and paddock.
Eczema blankets offer relief (Photo: Pixabay)
Husbandry and feeding
A species-appropriate attitude with movement and fresh air contributes anyway to the healthy attitude of the horse and to the stabilization of the immune system. Sporting activity also has a beneficial effect, however, heavy physical exertion under competition conditions and perhaps without rest breaks, transports and stable changes have been proven to cause problems for the immune system. Likewise, overweight, metabolic disorders such as metabolic syndrome, Cushing's disease or eczema complicate the work of the immune system. So also an adapted to the particular horse. Appropriate feeding is part of maintaining the health of the horse.
However, again, be aware that some horses may be allergic to certain ingredients. In principle, horse feed should be of good quality. Be free of dust as well as mold. Furthermore, the horse's need for vitamins. minerals as well as a balanced energy level. It should go without saying that sufficient roughage of impeccable quality is available, as well as fresh drinking water.
Allergy triggers grasses and pollen (Photo: Pixabay)
What we have not yet taken into account are the influences from the environment such as pollen from trees, grasses and herbs, but also dust mites, which are even found in horse stables. If the allergy is very severe, the horse is often treated with medications such as z.B. Cortisone supported, because it usually brings fast relief. However, prolonged use can cause serious side effects, including triggering laminitis. If it is possible, here the support and detoxification with herbs offers in any case the better alternative.
This is also true for other factors that stress the horse's immune system, such as pesticides and insecticides from agriculture, as well as worming and vaccinations. The detoxification organs of the horse, such as the liver, kidneys and skin, are working at full speed and are happy to receive any support they can get. Even if our horse already suffers from allergies, we can strengthen its immune system again and give it back some of its quality of life through regular detoxification cures.
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