Allergen or allergy is the condition when your horse’s immune system response from his immune system with hypersensitivity to things he consumes, inhales or touches.
In such a condition, the horse starts reacting and showing irregular behavior. Even when you inject anything injectable or give food, drugs to him, allergy can be there.
Allergens make the life complex and the outcome of allergens is always unappreciated. In easy words, you aren’t able to see your horse fit and ready to run.
Read further to find the best way to cure allergies in horses’ eyes including the signs, symptoms, treatment etc.
20 Best Ultimate Guide and Essential Tips of Basic Horse Care List
A horse can get different types of eye diseases due to allergens, viruses, parasites as well as injuries. Among these diseases, few are curable easily and others will take lots of time and procedures.
Most of them have similar symptoms so it becomes a tough task to identify eye disease. These are the signs you will see when your horse is having tough days with his eyes:
These are some common allergy-caused (directly or indirectly) eye diseases those your horse may suffer:
- Recurrent Uveitis
- Herpes Virus
- Eye Worms
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Why would horses ‘become’ allergic when they weren’t before?
This question may come to your mind and it’s quite normal. Allergies aren’t welcoming to anyone. Think like this, you have bought or curated horses which were fit till last week.
Now, you are seeing the above signs and symptoms in your horses’ eyes. You may think “From where the hell these issues came? Here’s the possible answer to this question:
They are having allergy problems due to the imbalance of minerals in their bodies. There may be one more reason. The feed you are giving the horses may have disturbing elements that causing allergens.
It happens mostly in rainy season when horses have metabolism problems. Thus, the result comes as “allergens”.
Which ‘Allergens’ most commonly affect horses?
You are up to finding which or what are the types of allergens your horses getting from. Then you should know these things which trigger allergic reactions to horses:
1. Insect bites
The saliva from different insect bites is very much sensitive to the horse. This kind of allergy’s most severe form is known as “Sweet itch” or “Summer eczema”. The bite of Culicodes midges builds rashes on the necks, belly parts, docks which is the allergic reaction none other than a sweet itch.
Horses rub, scratch and bite on these areas when they are facing this disease. Fly bites, Bites of mosquitos, horseflies, deerflies, stable and black flies, mites, in some cases fleas can also trigger allergies.
Itchiness in hairless patches, inflammation, and scabby skin are the signs of allergies due to insect bites.
- Using topical ointments to the affected area.
- Applying repellents and/or insecticides in the stables.
- Covering your horse with fly-proof garments.
2. Airborne agents
Different airborne agents are also the causes of allergens. Horses too have sensitivities to these things like we humans do. However, these are the most common pollen agents from:
- Trees: Pines, Birches, Alders, Cedars, sometimes Willows, Poplars, and Plane Trees
- Grasses: Rye-Grasses, Poa’s and Timothy
- Few weeds
- Fungal spores
- Dusty hay or bedding
Airborne allergies can cause a reaction to horses together or gradually. These signs are visible on horse face, legs, body. Even they can be seasonal or appear year-round.
If the allergies are respiratory, then the horse will have draining nose, cough or difficulties in breathing. These airborne agents also create allergies in horses’ eyes. The horse may have runny eyes, malaise (general) and headshaking randomly.
- Skin tests as primary identification of the issues
- Offering horse dust-free feed or hay
- Spot treatments such as ointment, spray
When you put saddle pads, wraps etc. on your horse, there can be mild to severe allergic reactions. If these things become dirty or there is an improper environment, then horses will get sensitivity issues to their bodies and eyes.
When your horse is having this type of allergies, the symptoms will be similar to atopic dermatitis. There will be lesions visible only on or near the allergen affected areas.
- Identifying the sources of allergens and stop using them
- Horse grooming equipment should be sanitized
- Hypoallergenic products are good to use to eliminate contact allergies
4. Food allergies
Usually, food allergies are least common than other allergies. Sometimes horses can develop sensitivities to have different foods such as grasses, grains, feeds or supplements. These can also create allergic reactions to the eyes.
When food allergies happen, you will see itchy or non-itchy hives on the body, nearby the eyes. These allergies don’t come in a specific season.
- Changing horse diet plan
- Changing food items that are creating allergies
- Providing clean water in the diet
5. Medications, de-wormers, and vaccines
Allergic reactions from medications, vaccines are not regular. In fact, these reactions are rare but the result can be outrageous.
There will be swelling at the injection site. There can be hives throughout the whole body. Anaphylaxis can grow due to these allergies.
- Contact your veterinarian and have the suggestion
- Applying antihistamines and anti-inflammatory medications with vaccines
- Avoiding combo products if horse reacting to a particular vaccine
Problems Caused by Allergens
Allergens can cause runny noses and watery eyes in horses. Actually, these are the first signs of allergies you will see your horses having. These are very familiar to horses who feed on natural grasses. Runny noses, watery eyes, etc. can occur repetitively.
Histamines can be present in the plants which you give the horses as feed. Horses can also produce histamines which are very friendly content to create allergies.
They can increase the penetrability of the blood vessels. This is the reason why fluid comes out of capillaries into the tissues. Thus, your horses get a runny nose and watery eyes.
Normally, the horse’s nasal membranes are pink, smooth and neat and clean looking. If you are doubting your horse is affected by allergic rhinitis, you should bring your horse under sufficient light or (daylight).
Then, hold the horse noses up towards the sun. Check if there are any inflames, bumpy, yellowish, ulcerated areas. If these are visible, surely the horse is facing allergic rhinitis. Rhinitis appears when your horse isn’t having a proper diet, correct food.
Breathing up fungal spores, pollens can bring rhinitis. As horse nostrils remain down to graze almost all day time, rhinitis has more possibilities to happen. As an example, you are taking your horse to exercise but the horse is doing lots of snorting.
The reason behind this is he is suffering from the nasal membranes’ irritation. Throat clearing cough is also common when you trot or canter the horse for the first time.
If you wish to keep the problems out, apply Vaseline nearby the noses opening to reduce the exposure. Further breathing problems follow these may turn into asthma.
Pollen allergy in horses’ symptoms
Pollens are airborne agents that cause allergic reactions to horses. These are relatable pollen allergy in horses’ symptoms:
- Clear, white or yellow nasal discharge
- Frequent dry cough (chronic or irregular)
- Breathing difficulties
- Improper breathing rate
- Nostril flaring
- Swallowing after coughing
- Requires abdominal effort to breathing
- Mucus spread out scattered on the stable ground
- Exercise intolerance, with a decreased stamina
- Loss of hair
- Skin abrasions
- Crusts and scales
- Reddened or darkened skin
- Thickened or leathery skin
- Rubbing or biting the affected areas
- Head shaking
Respiratory allergies in horses
Horses have more chances to become allergic to respiratory allergies more than other allergies. These allergies appear in two ways.
The first one is a horse is responding to the inhaled pollens exaggeratingly. If your horse has allergic rhinitis may have different problems due to respiratory allergens. He may have a runny nose and red, swollen watery eyes.
The second one is Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO). Horses cough, wheeze, breath improperly when RAO appears. Even mucus would come from nose flawlessly. The activities of the horse will be miserably reduced or changed.
Earlier, this allergy was known as Heaves and COPD. Now, it’s classified under the name “Equine Asthma Syndrome”.
Antihistamines for horses’ allergies
Histamines reduces the flow of blood pressure and causes inflammation and itching of allergic reaction in the horse’s body. Antihistamines help to react against them. One thing, anti-histamines don’t restrict the production or release of histamine.
But they can compete with histamines to work with histamine receptors on the respiratory tract, intestine, blood vessels, and skin’s sensitive cells. Antihistamines can be used as oral and injection methods.
Oral antihistamines require more time to affect. They can create swelling and itching due to allergic reactions. Injective antihistamines perform rapidly.
They are mostly applicable when the horse is allergic to an insect bite, airborne agents. You should use antihistamines for your horse according to your vet. Otherwise, the horse may have increased allergic problems including in their eyes.
Applying antihistamines may have side effects on horses. Seizures, colic, appetite loss, excitement etc. are some of these side effects.
Allergies in horses coughing
A horse can cough occasionally throughout the year. The major reasons for horses coughing can be any of these: dusty air, too much cold weather, debris entering while the horse is drinking or eating grass.
Coughing is a symptom that the horse may have allergies. When your horse is coughing, possibly he is suffering from these diseases: aspiration pneumonia, inflammatory airway disease (IAD), influenza, pleuropneumonia, RAO etc.
If your horse has allergies problems, then the cough (mucus) will be thin, clear, or light-colored.
Supplements for horses with pollen allergies
Supplements for horses are good to cure the pollen allergies. I have already mentioned details about pollen allergies. You may see your horse shaking his head frequently and having runny noses.
Even the look of the horse may seem pretty snotty or dull. These are the signs of a horse being allergic to pollen allergies. You can get many quality horse supplements on the market.
These supplements have the necessary ingredients that improve the immune system. You should purchase supplements having a natural formula.
Allergy supplement for horses
Allergies in horses are quite normal. But when the allergic reactions to the horse’s immune system go higher, the animal won’t interact with daily activities properly.
The result of allergy never appears as good. The horse may feel itchiness, hives, hair loss, eye problems etc. Allergy supplements help to prevent these by supporting the immune system.
If you want to purchase allergy supplements for your horse, you should look for the ingredients. A good quality supplement should include:
- DHA: It’s a form of omega-3 fatty acids. It helps to reduce the ability of omega-6 to attract allergens. DHA helps to balance inflammation in the horse body.
- Purified Thymus extract to build a strong immune system.
- Quercetin allows to balance healthy histamine levels. It plays a great role in an allergic response to reduce allergic reactions.
- Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to care and build a healthy body.
Watery eyes in horses
Definitely, when your favorite animal is having painful, swollen eyes with water discharge, you will start thinking more and more. Horse having this issue may have been affected with blocked tear duct.
These are known as nasolacrimal ducts. These small ducts drain an excessive number of tears from the horse’s eyes through his nose. Blocked ducts are caused by different reasons such as mucus in equine tears, narrow ducts.
The veterinarian runs a small tube up through the horse’s nose to the end of the passage to flush the duct. Then he will use saline to clean the passage. Flushing the nasolacrimal ducts are always effective.
But blockage may recur. You should ask the vet for further treatment. Also, try to cover the horse to protect from flies.
Alfalfa allergy symptoms in horses
Alfalfa is one kind of feed a horse owner gives to his horses. But this food item can cause allergic reactions to the horse’s immune system. These are some of the alfalfa allergy symptoms in horses:
- Itchiness on the skin
- Hair loss
- Irregular, exciting behavior
- Swellings in different areas
- Metabolism issues
- Watery drainage
- Decreased performance
What are Histamines? Why does horse need histamines?
The role of Histamines is quite notable in horses. Histamine is usually a vital transmitter that operates the body’s thirst mechanism. This transmitter defines water intake.
When the horse is dehydrating, histamine will ration the available water storage in the body. Histamine is an organic compound in the body. It’s derived from amino acid histidine with COOH removal.
These histamines can be found in many plants such as rye-grass and clover as well as animal issues. Chronic allergies such as asthma are resistant to antihistamine therapy.
The importance of histamine in plants is like chemical defender against herbivores. It can’t affect plant growth. But it can discourage consumption by herbivores.
Best way to cure allergies in a horse’s eyes:
As allergies are harmful to horses’ health, you should be aware of treating them. You should provide your horse with a clean, healthy environment.
You should identify the sources from where the allergens are coming from. Giving treatment alongside quality feed, grooming etc. can prevent and cure allergies, especially in the horse’s eyes.
Here are some useful ways to cure allergies in horses’ eyes:
Using horse fly mask:
Horse’s fly mask or fly caps cover the horse’s eyes, jaw to prevent flies roam around. Some of these masks also cover ears and muzzle. Usually, these masks are semi-transparent.
The mesh-made fly masks allow the horse to see around and hear while wearing them. Even, in some quality masks, there are features like UV light protection, insect repellent.
Biting insects can’t harm and spread diseases when you put the fly mask to the horse. Generally, these fly masks come in three different styles: full head, partial head and partial head with no ear coverings.
Applying horse allergy supplements:
Supplements have necessary ingredients that make the horse’s body healthy and fit to move on. You can give supplements with regular feed to the horses.
You should be aware that the supplement should have vitamins, minerals, DHA (Omega-3), Quercetin and important antioxidants. But you should ask your vet first. Then follow your procedures.
These two products are the most popular and recommended allergy supplements:
AniMed Anihist-H to Support Normal Histamine Levels in Horses:
Anihist-H from AniMed is a good quality horse allergy supplement. The purpose of this supplement is to make horses feel no redundancies while he breathes. This medication is effective in curing seasonal and respiratory allergies.
It supports normal histamine levels. Horses get an improved immune system when you give this supplement to them. Anihist-H contains quality natural ingredients such as peony root, choline chloride, vitamin C and D, ginger etc.
These ingredients help the horse to stay strong against any insects, and pollutants. However, this product is suitable for any horses from any classes.
Give this product to your horse by 1 oz. for two times a day at 10 days at a stretch. Then feed the horse 1 oz. daily.
Majesty’s Omega Wafers – Horse/Equine Skin, Coat, Immune Support Supplement
This is an incredible product for horses to cure allergies in the eyes as well as the whole body. Majesty’s Omega Wafers contain Omega-3, 6, 9 and biotin supplements for different beneficial purposes.
The combination of these ingredients works like all rounding supplement. Omega 3 reduces inflammation, Omega 6 improves the immune system, Omega 9 balances immune functions and reduces airway inflammation.
Hoof supplement helps horses to have healthy hoof, skin, and coats. Each bag of this product contains 60 wafers which are full of these nutritious ingredients. Full package (2 bags) of the anti-allergic supplements can fulfill the vitamins and minerals requirements of 4 months.
If your horse doesn’t love to consume liquid or powder, then these wafers are the best idea. These wafers are made of molasses, oats and apple sauce. So, the quality of the product is always secured and surefire.
Don’t ignore to treat your horses well. Sometimes horses may have allergic reactions even you feed them well. You should stay connected to a local veterinarian. When you see any symptoms of allergy diseases in horses’ eyes, call the vet immediately or earlier the next day.
The vet will come and acknowledge everything about the horse’s health. If there is any problem with feed or allergic agents, he will tell you. He may prescribe medicines to cure diseases. Many professional horse owners keep their personal vet for horses.
It’s not like you should use your towel to wipe the eyes of horses. There are many sanitized eye wipes available at the market. These wipes help to clean the dirty elements nearby the wipes.
Even if there is excessive draining, these wipes can help you.
You should use wipes when you see these issues in horses’ eyes:
- Excessive eye rubbing
- More discharge than regular
- Excessive eye watering
Frequently Asked Questions
#1. How do you treat a horse with allergies?
- Identifying the symptoms
- Finding the causes of allergies
- Changing or optimizing the diet
- Giving fresh natural drinking water
- Feeding healthy supplements
- Using wipes or fly masks
- Keeping grooming equipment neat and clean
- Covering the pasture well to keep flies away
- Calling or getting assistance from a vet
#2. What can you give a horse for allergies?
First of all, horses must be free from allergic agents such as insects, pollen agents, and other harmful things. Then you should give ample clean water, food and supplements.
Allergies can happen due to dust, dirty equipment you use to groom and raise the horses. You should sanitize them to prevent allergies from growing more severe. You should ask your vet for treatment and regular maintenance.
#3. How do I know if my horse has allergies?
If your horse is showing you these symptoms, then there is a possible chance your horse is getting pain with allergies:
- Tears or water coming from the horse’s eyes
- Sleepy, cloudy or gooey eyes
- Green or yellow discharges
- Red, dull, crusty eyes
- Very much sensitive to sunlight or light
- Horse rubbing his eyes
- Identifiable pain or discomfort signs with eyes
#4. Why are my horse’s eyes watering?
Water coming from eyes remains natural when we want to cry or get hurt. Similarly, watery eyes can be signed to face bigger diseases. If your horse is having excessive water discharge from his eyes, then there’s more possibility that allergies or cold have attacked him.
This is because allergens affect the horse and block nasolacrimal ducts. Thus, water comes from the nose and eyes excessively.
#5. How do you treat an eye infection in a horse?
The first thing is you must call the vet to cure the infection faster. While your vet gets time to treat the horse, you can cover the head with a fly mask. Then, keep the horse in subdued light.
The vet may prescribe an ointment or oral or injective medicines to treat eye infection in a horse.
#6. How do you treat a horse’s eye injury?
Eye injury in horses can happen due to several ways:
- Corneal ulcers
- Foreign body injuries
- Eyelid lacerations
- Orbital fractures
Treatments of these injuries are different from each other. For corneal ulcers, the vet will prescribe topical antibiotics besides non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. If the injury is caused by a minor foreign body, you have a drag out the foreign body from horse eyes gently.
Then antibiotics, flushing will be the next treatments. Suture any laceration of eyes can cure the eyelid lacerations. Use anti-inflammatory pain medications if there are any orbital fractures.
If there is any other type of injury, contact your treating practitioner to solve the issue.
#7. How do you treat an eye injury at home?
While you are treating a horse’s eye injury with medications, you should care for him at home simultaneously. Treating eye injury at home is important. If you don’t care about horse well, the eye infection may re-appear and make everything hell.
You should keep horse eyes clean according to your vet. Don’t speak or shout loudly to your horse while he can’t see you properly. Treat him gently so that he might not feel fear and welcome more diseases.
#8. Why do they cover horses’ heads?
Covering horses’ heads helps to keep irritating flies away. Fly masks help to prevent allergic diseases due to dust, and other airborne agents. Besides, covering may help the horse to focus on a specific thing.
#9. Does the eye heal itself?
It will be wrong if you follow the wait-and-see procedure to see improvements in horse injury. Horses’ eye injury can’t heal itself. You must call your vet to cure the problem.
#10. How do you flush out your eyes?
To flush out the horse’s eyes, the vet will run a small tube up through the horse’s nose to the end of the passage to flush the duct. Then he will use saline to clean the passage. Thus, the flushing of eyes will complete.
#11. How long do eyes take to heal?
Answer: Most of the eye injuries such as corneal ulcers take three to seven days to heal. To heal the eyes faster, you should follow the medication process and avoiding any mistakes while taking care of horses.
#12. How do you soothe an irritated eye?
If the sore is caused due to a foreign body, then try to clean the eyes by bringing the agent out of the eyes. Do not let the horse scratch his eyes repetitively. It will worsen the matter. Contact the vet for more steps to soothe the irritated eyes.
Legends say, if there is a problem, then there is always a solution. Allergies in horse eyes can be fearsome and matter of concern. If you are a regular rider or lover of the horse, you shouldn’t waste your time.
It doesn’t require to spend the whole day and night to cure allergic problems. You should follow the necessary as I mentioned above steps to keep your friend healthy, jolly and ready-to-ride.
Do give your horse a clean and safe environment where he can breathe freely and enjoy his feed and stalling. This article contains each and every corners of horse eye allergies. Best of luck.