Just read two fantastic articles in Eqqus on Allergies and COPD. Talked about the allergy shots (testing first to find what the allergy is..........the square shaved, lots of little shots type)
Does anyone know of anyone reputable in the south who does this testing?
Also, I'd love to hear from those who've done it and if it works/and the cost.
My vet is negative on it saying it really doesn't work well........................
It's funny as I was just talking to a trim client of mine who did this and they said the allergy shots worked a miracle for her horse and his heaves. I have a COPD gelding also that I have to soak hay for daily and it is a major drag...but it would be nice to see what else could be done for him.
You may want to search the forum since I've seen some other discussions on this topic incl. skin test vs. blood test, results, problems, etc.
My horse has a lot of seasonal allergies. I've done some research and the blood test is obviously easier (although generally considered much less accurate). Any vet pulls the blood, sends to a labratory such as Biomed (google BioMed/pet allergies), they analyze, provide the results, and provide serum for immunotherapy. I recommend you visit one of the Lab sites to get their perspective.
My understanding is there isn't really an "equine allergy doctor". I believe there's a veterinary concentration but even living in horse country, I can't find anyone that can claim it. There's a well-known pet allergy clinic in the area but they don't work on horses and suggest taking the animal to the local equine hospital to get the more accurate skin testing. The local hospital will do it but I get the sense they don't do it much and I don't really feel I'd be getting the expertise to justify the cost.
I went the blood route and my horse has been on immunotherapy for over 3 years. I sure don't see any miracle cure but I do believe it helps a bit. I use so many different means to manage his allergies that it's difficult to tell what's resulting in his improvement. My Vet doesn't think much of it either, but the he pulls the blood and the clinic orders the refills.
If you do go the blood route (and your horse does have allergies) when you get the results, you'll want to find a rope and look for a rafter . Be prepared for many false positives, including what he eats (grass), what he lives in (pine mix), most trees around his pastures, and many bugs. I take the results with a grain a salt and look for spikes on the scale as well as what changes over time and what doesn't. I pay attention to the reported pollen levels, play with some of the environmental factors, and use the results to try and nail down what is putting him over the edge.
I've not read the Equus article but I'm so glad you posted about it. I definitely will go pick up a copy.
I have done the allergy skin testing and shots for one horse years ago. Did it work? Well...somewhat. More than anything, removing him from an environment with many of his particular triggers was much more effective than any meds or shots. Now an acquaintance of mine had the allergy testing done on a horse and felt the shots made a huge difference -- instead of a hivey mess, the horse was able to be shown and function like a normal horse.
This was all performed by a vet that specializes in allergies and he was located here in the PNW. He was not limited to horses, but also worked with other animals, including some exotics at the zoo!
Cost was fairly substantial at the start, but maintenance (daily shots) were pretty inexpensive. I seem to recall the initial start-up (exam, testing, first batch of shots and meds to help during the ramp-up) was somewhere around $1,000 but then the shots after that only ran about $100/month or so.
Can't help with anyone in your area, but I know in Oregon, there is a site where you can search vets and narrow it down by specialty, so you might have something similar available.
At the time (don't know if it's still the same), the test seemed to be based on what they used to test dogs. It inluded things like sheep epithelium and black ants. If I was having one tested today, I would probably see if they could coordinate with a local allergist to find out what the worst offenders in my area are (especially pollens) and test for those!
I went ahead and did the shots even though the pony didn't have major reaction to anything she was tested for - just in case. It didn't help her, but I think if she'd been tested for the right things, it might have worked.
When my gelding was 4 he developed a bad exercise induced cough. Had him scoped to rule out an entraped epiglottis and gutteral pouch issues. Did a bronch lavage which showed high WBC amounts in the fluid.
Vet said to give allergy shots a try. (I did the blood test.) Within a couple of months of starting, his coughing got a lot better. Within a year it was essentially gone. I kept the shots going for another year and then stopped. It's been 5 years and he's still good.