Ahchoo! It’s summer, and the allergies in Texas are raging. While we are dealing with “Cedar Fever” and the reemergence of mosquitoes in our lives, frequently our horses are suffering along with us. Their allergies look a little different though!
Things to look out for:
If your horse is showing these signs, especially if they pop up in the spring and seem to wane as it gets cooler, it’s likely that allergies in the skin are contributing to their itch! In most horses, an overreaction of the immune system to an insect bite, such as a No-see-um (biting midge) causes the itching and irritation that is driving them crazy. No-see-ums are small insects much smaller than mosquitoes but they can be just as annoying! Mosquitoes, flies and other biting insects can also be a problem.
So what can you do? Well, we haven’t figured out how to get rid of the bugs, so we need to find our way around our horses getting exposed to their bites!
And if your horse ends up with signs of itchiness this spring, there are a few things you can do to relieve their itch. Cooling, cleansing baths help relieve discomfort and decrease inflammation. Some medicated shampoos can also topically soothe any swelling and irritation. If your horse is struggling to stay comfortable, your veterinarian may also recommend antihistamines to help control the allergic response, or in severe cases even steroids. With all of these things, hopefully you and your horse can beat the itch!