Just like people, some horses are plagued by allergies. These allergies can result from an array of irritants, including insects, pollens, molds, dust, plants and even products used on their coats such as fly sprays and coat conditioners. Symptoms can appear as irritated, swollen, runny eyes; respiratory irritation, nasal congestion; hives; hair loss; and intense itchiness.
For irritation caused by insects, fly sprays, fly sheets and masks, and overall insect control can really help to avoid the reaction itself. There are many different types of fly sprays available on the market today so test them out and make sure to find a spray that is gentle on your horse’s skin and will not cause any reaction itself.
Fly sheets and masks are extremely beneficial when managing the overall fly problem is not feasible. These sheets and masks cover your horse with a mesh barrier to block pesky insects. You can even buy fly sheets that extend up the neck and have belly wraps to help protect major large areas. Fly boots to protect the legs are also available in many equestrian stores.
Overall insect control is great for areas where the fly population is concentrated in one location such as the barn or manure pile. This type of insect control can be implemented via a fly spray system throughout the barn, using fly traps, and even investing in fly predators each year. Fly predators are tiny insects that can be purchased as eggs and delivered to your barn or home. These insects are spread across fly reproduction and feeding areas such as manure piles to help inhibit the fly population.
When it comes to irritants such as pollens, molds, and dust, you can try to help ease allergies by frequent cleaning. Barns easily get very dusty, whether the dust comes from your barn’s shavings, hay, dirt being tracked in the barn or just from the animals themselves, these dust particles can accumulate faster than you would imagine. Try to make sure to thoroughly sweep your barn on a regular basis and keep your hay room clean and fresh. For barns with dirt floors, it might actually be beneficial to mist down the floor on a regular basis to prevent dust from floating up and irritating your horse.
If your horse has skin allergies unrelated to insects, one of the first steps you could take is to eliminate the products you uses one by one. This way you can rule out whether any of your fly sprays, shampoos or coat conditioners may be causing the irritation.
Dealing with horse allergies can be tedious and exhausting. Fortunately, there are many supplements on the market for seasonal allergies that can really help with symptoms if other methods haven’t helped. Look for supplements using natural ingredients that help to sooth irritation and suppress coughs. There are also special shampoos that can be used for skin irritations caused by insects. Eye ointment prescribed from your vet can also help immensely in alleviating swollen, irritated and runny eyes.
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