Just like other animals, horses may suffer from different allergies. Allergies in horses manifest primarily through the respiratory system or the skin. Here’s a closer look at common symptoms.

horse allergies

Horse Allergy Symptoms:

  • Watery eyes
  • Coughing or other respiratory issues
  • Itching or hives (often manifesting as raised lumps on the shoulders)
  • Anaphylaxis (extreme allergic reaction)

Causes of Horse Allergies:

  • insect bites
  • environmental allergens (pollen, mold, dust, etc.)
  • nearby plants
  • shampoos
  • drug reactions
  • food
  • heredity

Horse Allergy and Atopy Treatment

To detect the source of the allergies, an allergy vet may wish to perform an intradermal skin test (common form of horse allergy testing). These tests can be helpful in identifying trigger allergens, but be aware that they are not always accurate and may give false positives or negatives.

If your pet is sensitive to foods, a change of diet may be all that is needed to improve their health. However, if they react to airborne allergens such as pollen, mold, or dust, avoidance is almost impossible. These allergens are everywhere in the environment.

For environmental allergies, your veterinarian or allergy veterinarian may proceed to hyposensitization –either through allergy shots for horses or under the tongue allergy drops (also known as sublingual immunotherapy). Hyposensitization can help “rewire” your horse’s immune system so that it stops overreacting to allergy triggers for the long term.