Does the arrival of summer herald an outbreak of hives? Or does your horse try to rub her chest or ears raw? Does your horse look like a war horse - covered in mesh protective blankets, sock and face masks? Are Tri-Hist and prednisolone part of your horse's everyday diet? And finally, does she try to hide when she sees you coming with a spray bottle of the latest chemical or natural repellent?
There may be some help in the feed bucket - not some magic bullet but some common sense basics with tried and true track records - thanks to the teachings of Equine Nutritionist Eleanor Kellon, VMD.
Allergic Skin Reactions - a nutritional approach is a handout I put together for some clients and friends to help them understand how to support their horse's immune system and lessen the severity of their horse's inflammatory reactions to bug bites and other "allergy" responses.
"Once an inflammatory cascade is started it seems more and more things will act as triggers until our horse is in a bubble of inflammation - with many systems affected. It can take something fairly significant (such as steroids and antihistamines) in large enough doses taken for a long enough period of time to stop the inflammatory response spiral and hold it off long enough for the immune system to regroup. If we don't get a handle on inflammation, our horses will start to react to "everything" - this is what we often see when horses are given allergy tests (not particularly reliable) and they respond as "allergic" to every hay, feed and other things they encounter in their environment."
To see the entire handout or to download a pdf version go to Allergic Skin Reactions - a nutritional approach
Monsoon season is here is Arizona - stay dry and stay out of running washes! (For maximum impact, watch in full screen. You don't want your or your horse caught in this.)
Desert Hoofprints from damp Vail AZ