Are Horses Hypoallergenic

Christina Perez
• Monday, 05 October, 2020
• 19 min read

Kashmir Curly horses, who carry a gene that produces a distinctive wavy coat, are commonly thought to be hypo-allergenic. To see whether this is true, researchers at the University Children’s Hospital Charity in Berlin and Private Medical Practice for Neurology in Klappholz recruited 40 riders who had documented allergies to horses.

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(Source: equusmagazine.com)


The researchers then followed the riders for three years, periodically testing airflow in their lower and nasal airways after exposure to Curly horses. They found that 37 of the riders showed no signs of allergic reactions, and the three who did responded well to a single dose of inhaled medication and required no additional intervention despite continued exposure to the Curly horses.

A German study challenges the theory that American Kashmir Curly Horses are less likely than other breeds to trigger allergic reactions in people. “The clinical presentation is variable but most people react to horse allergens with the typical symptoms of hay fever, including sneezing, a runny, itchy or stuffy nose and itchy, burning and watery eyes,” says Eva Bahraini, M.Sc., of the Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum.

“In more severe cases, horse allergy can manifest as asthma, including wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. “Several websites, newspaper articles and TV segments report stories of horse-allergic individuals who can handle Curly Horses without suffering any allergic reactions.” Preliminary research seemed to confirm these observations, but the reason for the low-allergenic potential of Curly Horses was unclear, which led Bahraini to devise a new study to test the premise.

Bahraini’s team collected 224 hair samples from 32 different equine breeds. “EU c 1, which is found in horse dander, saliva and urine, belongs to the lidocaine family of proteins and is primarily considered to be a carrier of odor ants and pheromones,” explains Bahraini.

Both proteins are identified as allergens, which are substances that bind to the antibodies responsible for allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.” “The so-called hypoallergenic Curly Horses that we tested in our study had significantly higher allergen levels in hair than the majority of other investigated breeds,” says Bahraini.

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(Source: equusmagazine.com)

“These findings indicate that some animals might be classified as either high or low allergen producers within the same breed,” says Bahraini. The data also showed that stallions had higher concentrations of allergens than did mares or geldings, suggesting a link to hormones.

“From a medical point of view, the general recommendation for horse-allergic patients is to avoid further contact with horses. On the other hand, studies by our co-author have shown that horse-allergic patients suffer from milder or even no allergic symptoms when riding Curly Horses,” she says.

A comparison among breeds by measurements of horse allergens in hair and air samples,” Los One, December 2018 Last year I started taking some horse riding lessons.

My only concern would be is if horses are the only thing you are allergic to in the barn? I try to pick barns with good ventilation to board at and this is also beneficial for the horses for many other reasons.

I try to pick barns with good ventilation to board at and this is also beneficial for the horses for many other reasons. I find if I do not clean my hands and face, then It gets worse.

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I'm normally there for 3 hours, I don't know if symptoms will get worse if I'm there more time ^^' For me, allergy pills usually contained things and I don't normally get life threatening symptoms, such as my airway closing off.

However, I have been at one or two barns (clinic hosts) that really irritated me (swollen face and nose) for some reason and I had to get out of there as soon as I could because the allergy pills just weren't fully working. For me, allergy pills usually contained things and I don't normally get life threatening symptoms, such as my airway closing off.

Normally, I get hives, itchiness, running eyes, sneezing etc. However, I have been at one or two barns (clinic hosts) that really irritated me (swollen face and nose) for some reason and I had to get out of there as soon as I could because the allergy pills just weren't fully working.

It's actually good to hear that symptoms doesn't change if you go to the same barn! Usually I'd stay longer to keep an eye on my horse, but luckily other people I knew where there.

Symptoms are usually the same; however sometimes they do get worse the longer I stay IF they are triggered, which is most, but not all the time. We discovered our daughter was deathly allergic to horses (picture not being able to breathe) after we bought our first one last July.

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We immediately started talking allergy shots and stuff, but obviously that isn't an overnight cure. She also started on allergy shots, which has been postponed due to COVID-19.

My daughter grooms her and rides her, and she has not had any breathing issues at all. I still take allergy pills if I'm going to be in a barn with regular horses because all the dust and hair get to me but I'm perfectly fine outside. This might vary from person to person but I still get very minor reactions from saliva and grooming (dirt/hay fever related).

Edit to add; your Curly horse would be fine in warmer climates. It would be best if you were able to get to a barn that had one and offered lessons. Maybe if you do find one, and you ask if you could come out, you could explain why you're interested and maybe those people would be able to work with you.

I'd also be a little nervous to buy an animal hoping it's hypoallergenic and then get it, and find out that my allergies are just the same. With hundreds of plants and trees pollinating at some times of the year, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact culprit.

In short, anything that your horse can ingest, inhale, or come into contact with can potentially cause an allergy. Horses may rub their tails on fence posts or scrub their manes out by scratching their necks on feeders, branches, or trees.

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Some owners feel they've had success with supplements that boost immunity, such as omega-3 fatty acids, blue-green algae, and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Itching and irritation can be treated with soothing topical washes, ointments, or lotions.

This may be easier said than done, as it may take extensive (and expensive) testing to find out what exactly is causing the allergic reaction. For horses with severe, unavoidable allergies, your veterinarian should be able to provide you with medications to combat the symptoms.

Read on to gain a better understanding of what allergies are, as well as a few natural solutions that may help ease the symptoms your horse is experiencing. Allergies are created by a substance that the body’s immune system detects incorrectly as a threat.

It mounts a substantial attack on that threat, while producing lots of antibodies and releasing histamines and other substances. Other flies can sometimes create a similar reaction in horses, causing severe itching and hair loss, and sometimes a crusty oozing rash that results in secondary bacterial infections and other complications.

Some solutions for preventing allergic reactions include using fly sheets and other fly covers, topical salves to protect from insect bites, wetting down hay and living areas to reduce dust and mold spores, and removing certain feeds/medications from the equine diet. While that all sounds fine and dandy, the reality is that we can’t enclose our horses in bubble wrap; there’s no way to keep them 100% protected from insects, dust, mold, pollen, etc.

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Several natural supplementation options are available to horse caretakers to help manage and reduce allergy symptoms. Recall that allergic reactions are marked by an over-responsive immune system and inflammation, so unsurprisingly, treatments generally fall into those two categories.

Anti-inflammatories Reducing inflammation will help tremendously with calming down the body’s allergic reaction and symptoms, including skin and lung irritation. MSM’s anti-inflammatory properties will block histamine receptivity in affected tissues, thereby reducing symptoms.

Feeding these herbs to your horse will help strengthen his overall immune system so it can avoid overreacting to irritants. Nettles are immune-supporting, as they target the health of the kidneys, which work to flush toxins from the body.

Nettles also have some natural antihistamine compounds, which can provide additional relief from allergy symptoms. The horse’s digestive system includes tissue function that drives much of his immune response.

Melanie Falls is a holistic health aficionado and advocate, having healed her own horse, 24-year-old Rosario, with natural methods. She writes articles for various equine publications and online blogs and is the owner of Whole Equine, an online store featuring a large catalog of top quality all-natural horse care products including supplements, fly sprays, first aid, and much more.

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At one time we owned a palomino mare who, in her senior years, suffered from heaves, an allergic-based disease that compromises breathing and is similar to how asthma affects humans. Zone had lived all her life in Brandon, Manitoba, and came to us on the west coast when she was in her early twenties.

While the more humid atmosphere of the coast helped, what was really beneficial was keeping her on pasture most of the time, away from the dust and spores in the barn. What also helped her condition was sourcing a better-quality grass mix hay and dampening it to eliminate dust.

Like humans, horses can be hypersensitive to a wide variety of allergen triggers including insect bites, pollen, dust and molds, chemicals in crop sprays, hay dust, stall bedding materials, wool (sometimes in saddle pad and blanket products), grooming sprays, shampoos, synthetic materials such as neoprene found in boots and pads, medications, supplements, and some ingredients in feed pellets. “I don’t know if there’s been an increase in allergies,” says Wendy Pearson, assistant professor, equine physiology, University of Guelph.

When a horse has an allergic reaction, its immune system perceives something from its environment as a threat and launches a response that is out of line with the normally benign condition. It leads to him becoming hypersensitive to the agent, or allergen, and his defenses are elevated so that, when next exposed, his reaction is quicker and stronger.

The allergic reaction produces a chemical response that triggers the release of histamine, which can result in swellings or itching or other adverse physical conditions. The two most common sites for an allergic reaction are the skin, which can suffer from hives (a cluster of swellings) and pruritic (intense itching), and the respiratory system when horses have a persistent nasal discharge and frequent coughing.

horses horse hypoallergenic breeds
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If horses have been living out on pasture all summer, they may display a reaction to being inside once the windows are shut and the doors closed. Those bites result in sweet itch, also known as pruritic or seasonal recurrent dermatitis; the allergic response is a reaction to the proteins in the saliva of the midge.

Hives may start as a few small, soft lumps on the horse’s neck, then quickly progress across his shoulders and sides. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh and published in 2015 in the journal, Los One, showed for the first time that, while all horses respond to allergens, their immune system can react in two different ways.

One of the responses to the allergen is the release of certain substances secreted by cells in the immune system, known as cytosine lL-4. The animals in the study were Shetland ponies, and their responses to midge bites were similar to what happens in people with allergies.

Allergies are complicated interactions between genetic and environmental influences, and it is still a work in progress to understand why some individuals, and some horses, develop sensitivities and reactions to certain substances while others do not. With hypersensitive horses, their airways may be further irritated by hay and bedding dust, and these animals will present with a persistent runny nose and possibly watery eyes.

The more complex Recurrent Airway Obstruction condition, previously called heaves and now referred to as Equine Asthma Syndrome, presents with coughing, wheezing, and labored breathing, which impacts the overall health of the horse. As with people, an allergic reaction in a horse can show within minutes or hours of exposure, and it may be from an unusual source.

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(Source: www.curlystandardplace.com)

Treatment strategies always include allergen avoidance, topical therapies, and systemic medications such as antihistamines recommended by your veterinarian. With busy working and riding schedules it’s easy to overlook the darker recesses of barns, but a good regular cleaning of the walls and corners to remove buildup of dust, spider webs, and any floating material will help to minimize exposure.

Keep the tack room warm to avoid dampness and prevent mold and mildew from forming on leather. Ensure all blankets are clean and dry on the inside where mice can’t get at them for nesting material, and mites cannot reach them to feed on skin cells.

In a study done by the Department of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Australia, researchers tested 14 horse rugs and two saddle blankets for the presence of house dust mites. Dust samples from the rugs, blankets, and 16 control sites were collected with a vacuum cleaner with a modified attachment and filter.

The study also confirmed the dust mite allergen reactivity on serum allergy testing of hypersensitive horses. According to the report, it was the first study to document the presence of house dust mites in the equine environment.

Further research was recommended to evaluate all the immunological responses, provocations, and avoidance measures to minimize exposure of allergic horses to the microscopic translucent mite that is barely 0.02 mm long. It may not be totally clear why horses are sensitive to such tiny creatures, but avoidance and blanket management are essential to reduce risk.

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Helping a horse’s immune system cope with allergens spans not just avoidance and medications, but supplements too. “There is abundant evidence that overactive immune states (such as allergies) are calmed with BGA at doses as low as 10 mg/kg By, both local and whole-body,” she writes.

“There isn’t anything on horses but there is some really nice, very good research data supporting the use of BGA in allergic conditions.” In a paddock environment, horses will naturally adapt to conditions so long as they have adequate food, fresh unfrozen water, and shelter from wind and rain.

They are healthier in general, and will adapt to cold temperatures as long as they are provided with adequate shelter, sufficient food of good quality, and a plentiful supply of fresh, unfrozen water. Depending on breed, horses will grow excellent coats in winter to cope with conditions.

“The haulage that we typically think about for dairy cows, baled at around 40 to 45 percent moisture, is not good for horses. It is a very hygienic feed, so it’s low in dust and it has a much better nutritional profile compared to dry hay.

The problem with haulage comes when it sits outside, it doesn’t get completely consumed, gets exposed to wetness and sunshine, and then there is a botulism risk. As long as the haulage is consumed completely within about 48 hours and not exposed to rain or direct sunlight, it is a very safe, nutritious feed.

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A food allergy should always be discussed with a veterinarian who will provide guidance on protocols to isolate the offending substance which can then be eliminated. Whether certain horse breeds are more susceptible to allergies is largely unknown, but a recent international study published in the Journal of Animal Breed Genetics and conducted by scientists in England, Belgium, Sweden, and the Netherlands looked at equine insect bite hypersensitivity (IBM) by biting midges in Icelandic horses and Ex moor ponies, and found an IBM predisposition in both breeds.

In our modern world, with so many synthetic materials and various food sources entering the barn, it is not surprising that allergic reactions can occur with our equine friends. An allergic reaction occurs when your horse’s immune system overreacts to something it determines is foreign to the body.

If the respiratory system is affected, your horse may experience a running nose, watery eyes, a cough, or exercise intolerance and an increase in respiratory effort. There are four main categories of allergic disorders in the horse: insect hypersensitivity, allergic inhalant dermatitis, food hypersensitivity, and contact allergies. Insect hypersensitivity is at the top of the list of equine allergies due to your horse’s almost daily exposure to things with wings that bite, chew and sting.

But mosquitoes, mites, and those pesky midges (also known as “no-see-ums,” or by their scientific genus name, Suicides) can result in a miserable horse. Midges most frequently result in patches of edema, hair loss, and scabby skin along the mane and top of the tail and along the towline.

Fly bites, particularly from horseflies, may not be as condensed in one location, but rather spread out to wherever the insects can steal a meal. Allergic inhalant dermatitis in horses is caused by environmental allergens such as mold, pollen, and dust.

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When these allergens are inhaled, they cause the activation of certain antibodies in your horse’s immune system, resulting in the release of inflammatory chemicals into the skin and respiratory tract. Although the skin lesions with inhalant dermatitis can appear similar to those that result from insect bites, the respiratory symptoms are more pronounced.

The most well-known of the respiratory conditions linked to inhalant allergies is recurrent airway obstruction (Ran), also known as heaves. Inhalant allergies can also result in runny eyes and general malaise, which can be mistaken for a viral or bacterial infection.

Additionally, runny eyes or nasal discharge with allergies is usually clear, not yellow or green. The wide variety of grains and supplements we now have available at feed stores makes this type of allergy a real possibility that should be considered with any itchy horse.

Itchy skin has been associated with wheat, oats, barley, bran and alfalfa, as well as various dietary supplements. Contact allergies are the final catch-all category to lump other possibilities that could cause your horse to swell or itch or lose his hair.

These reactions involve full-body release of large amounts of inflammatory chemicals that affect everything from breathing to heart rate and need to be treated immediately. Patches of bald skin, scabs, and hives are reliable indicators that your horse is experiencing some sort of allergy.

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If your horse has hives all over his body in July, is this because of an insect, the cooling sheet he wears, or maybe something in his grain? Often this simply means finding a new blanket or girth, or replacing a new tail conditioner with the old product you previously used.

Ensuring that your tack is clean and doesn’t rub or irritate the skin are two methods to avoid certain contact allergies in the first place. Since heaves is a condition caused by environmental allergens, it is all but impossible to remove the horse from the problem.

Decreasing the dust in the barn, soaking hay prior to feeding, feeding hay in a rack and not on the ground, and avoiding strenuous exercise during times of peak pollen count or dry, dusty conditions can help decrease your horse’s exposure to inhalant allergens. Since allergies are the result of an over-release of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals in your horse’s blood stream, medications such as antihistamines and anti-inflammatories like steroids work very well in negating the effects of the over-enthusiastic immune response.

However, with some detective work to discover the “who or what” and knowledge to understand the “why,” you, with the help of your veterinarian, can make your horse comfortable again. Her practice tackles anything equine in nature, from Miniature Horses to zebras at the local zoo, with a few cows, goats, sheep, pigs, llamas, and alpacas thrown in for good measure.

One of their most striking features is that gleaming coat of hair that shows up in all kinds of colors and patterns. Keep reading to learn more about this gorgeous animal, including its history and its main characteristics.

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The first references to what sounds like the curly horse breed show up in the early 2nd century, but we’re still not sure how accurate they are. Plus, there are also documents that talk about how one of the horses owned by the emperor Taiping was unique for its curly hair.

Here’s an extra fun fact: if you visit this emperor’s tomb (now a popular monument), you’ll see carvings of some of his horses. Many years later, the curly horse gained fame through the work of Charles Darwin.

This British scientist came up with an interesting theory about the link between their hair and the shape of their hooves. He also mentioned the potential existence of curly horses in Russia, and talked about how people were breeding them in Los Angeles.

Many Native American tribes, like the Sioux, saw curly horses as mystical creatures. Moving beyond their hair, curly horses are generally medium-sized, with proportional, muscular bodies and tough hooves.

Their tails are generally not too high up on their body, and their hips aren’t especially wide, which helps them keep a very upright posture. They’re capable of forming deep bonds with their caretakers and are highly sociable with other animals.

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As winter approaches again, their hair grows and the curls come back in full force to help them withstand the cold. It also makes this breed great for equine (horse) therapy and equestrian sports.

Curries are typically not flighty, and tend to do more reasoning than most breeds. While the exact origin of the American Curly Horse is currently being researched, experts know that Curly horses were found in North America in the 1800s and used as mounts by Native Americans.

They were discovered by white settlers in wild herds of mustangs at the turn of the 20th century. There is also evidence of Curly horses living in South America.

Manes and forelocks can take on the look of corkscrew, ringlet, or deadlocked curls. Lovely Sonia, Stag Creek Farm, in her winter curls.

Ear hair, whiskers, eyelashes, and fetlocks are often curly as well. Some people choose to collect the hair that is shed from the mane and tails in the spring.

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Research indicates a protein is missing from the hair of Curries which may be what causes allergic reactions to horses in allergy sufferers, but the study was never officially published. Members of the Curly community are working towards funding more research on the topic.

By Donnybrook STABLES, ALBERTA, CANADA Featured Image: American Kashmir Curly Horse Registry, registry.org. His sire, Paar is one of 300 horses left with his bloodlines and traces back to Choctaw native breeding programs.

His dam, stag creek Era Hutu's is a foundation bred extreme curly mare with warrior bloodlines. These two together have created an amazing young colt who is old enough to really start working with and getting him ready to ride next year.

Luka has been handled since the day he was born, comes running to you when you call him. I have owned his sire since he was a colt and I expect Luka to be as easy to train under saddle as he was.

Luka is a product of a well-thought-out pairing to get the ultimate package in a horse and a bonus for people who have allergies. You get a trailer threat with this guy, beauty, brains and curly.

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(Source: www.pinterest.com)

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1 healthcare.ascension.org - https://healthcare.ascension.org/Doctors/1770876658/erin-v-mcdonald-carmel-in
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4 www.healthcare4ppl.com - https://www.healthcare4ppl.com/physician/indiana/carmel/erin-voss-mcdonald-1770876658.html
5 www.healthcare6.com - https://www.healthcare6.com/physician/carmel-in/erin-mcdonald-2722744.html
6 medicine.iu.edu - https://medicine.iu.edu/neurology/faculty