Can Horses Have Allergies?

up-close shot of horse faceMost of us can agree that allergies are one of the more annoying and inconvenient health issues we have had to learn to deal with, especially during the changing seasons. You might wonder from time to time if your horse is susceptible to the same hypersensitive reactions that we are—and the answer is yes!

While allergies are not as common in horses as they are in humans, they can plague our equine friends and lead to unpleasant symptoms. So, what do you need to know about allergies when it comes to your horse?

What Can Horses Be Allergic To?

Like humans, many different triggers can cause your horse to have an allergic reaction. These are some of the most common ones to look out for if you suddenly notice new symptoms:

  • Insects
  • Environmental allergens (mold, pollen, dust, etc.)
  • Contact triggers (bedding, shampoo, & other care products)
  • Medications & vaccines
  • Food (rarely)

What Do Equine Allergy Symptoms Look Like?

Allergic responses in horses usually fall into one of two categories: skin or respiratory. Insects and topical products are the most common triggers for skin reactions. Symptoms typically include hives or itchy skin (pruritus) that causes a noticeable rash.

Respiratory symptoms are more common in the presence of environmental allergens. If you notice your horse coughing or wheezing, their lungs may be reacting to a trigger in the air.

Anaphylaxis, a systemic reaction that causes your horse to stop breathing, is the most severe respiratory symptom. If you notice your horse is having trouble breathing (sweating, nervousness, repeated coughing), get them immediate veterinary attention, as untreated anaphylaxis is often fatal.

How Do You Treat a Horse for Allergies?

The most effective way to manage your horse’s allergies and treat their symptoms is to eliminate exposure to the trigger. Try to narrow down what your horse may be allergic to (it’s usually something newly introduced to their environment) so you can prevent contact.

Talk to your vet if you cannot identify what your horse is allergic to or their symptoms do not clear up. They may recommend or prescribe steroids, antihistamine medication, or supplements to help with management.

To limit your horse’s exposure to possible allergens, you need a secure shelter to protect them. When you invest in a horse barn from Deer Creek Structures, you’re investing in the health and happiness of your horse.

Call us today at (254)546-2276 to learn more about our custom horse structures!