My friend's horse started getting hives about 6 weeks ago. The vet put him on Dex and they got better, but as soon as he was taken off the drugs they came back with a vengeance. They actually ooze serum and are very itchy... they are all over his body, but did start on his head and neck. He's back on Dex, but I think they have not gone away completely.
So far she has changed hay, changed bedding, changed grain and in complete desperation moved him to a different barn. He's 13 and never had any sort of allergy before this year.
Any thoughts? Anyone have a similar experience? My poor friend is at her wits end.
I had a mare that got a horrible case of hives -- oozing serum, etc. She ran a fever for a couple of days. She seemed to get a very bad sunburn concurrently. Most of her hair fell off. I can't remember what all we treated her with -- dex, for a couple of days, and SMZ, I think. Kept her out of the sunlight for 6 weeks.
All we could figure out is that perhaps she ate something that made her photosensitive. I know that there was alsike clover in her hay, and some St. John's Wort in the pasture. She recovered fully, with no recurrences.
May be time to change the drugs. My horse went through a bad, unshakeable case of hives last winter. A course of prednizone finally shook them loose.
But then you have to get to the root of the cause. I have done the blood test for allergies, which, really, aren't the greatest help (helped with my old horse, who had VERY cut and dry food allergies, but not really with this one). You could try the skin tests to rule out the issues, but it is pricey. The elimination process is the next thing, but I think first order of business is to kick the hives out of the horse's system.
Please rule out Pemphigus (as suggested by Airhorse) with a punch biopsy. Do not waste time guessing with drugs when you do not have a diagnosis. This could be very serious. If the vet has not considered Pemphigus, find one that is more knowledeable and preferably a dermatologist.
In desperation, I moved the horse 10 miles away. Put him on completely different bedding (again) and completely different food sources. At the new barn he got Teff grass hay and some alfalfa/oat cubes. I knocked the hives back with another 20 mg dose of Dex and by the 2nd day, the hives were coming back even with the 20 mg Dex. He was stressed and my efforts failed, so I moved him home where he is emotionally comfortable.
My vet has 3 cases of hive going on in 3 corners of her practice area. (mine is the worst tho) We have discussed Pemphig multiple times and she does not believe that is what he has, although if we decide to sedate him to draw blood, I am planning on a biopsy too. He is needle PHOBIC, and not just a little bit, so alergy testing by injections is not practical or safe in any way.
Last night I started tapering the Dex, we'll see today how he is doing. There is a theory about mold in the air due to the early rains and now sunshine. Even mistletoe is flourishing this year in CA...any thoughts?
NOTHING I can figure out has changed in his diet or life at the time of the hives starting on 3 Jan 13. Horse has had no prooducts placed on his skin at all, doesn't have dandruff. I wish I could find the culprit. HELP!
One of mine had bad hives last year. I had hoary alyssum in the hay I was using. I discovered that and immediately switched hay. Not sure if that was the source or not. He continued to get hives for over a month and finally they went away. I had taken him off all grain and started with a new hay.
I also had one that broke out in hives from SMZ's, and those lasted a while too.
I hope your guy clears up. Is he on any supplements? My niece (the human kind lol) has chronic headaches/migraines. She is only 7. She has been taking motrin for them. Well a few weeks ago she started getting hives and they found out she was getting them from the motrin. So new allergies can develop.
What type of bedding have you used? I am wondering if shavings are bothering him. Have you tried straw?
So interesting! My mare came up with hives last summer. Treated with Dex for 3 days, came back, more Dex, came back, a/b's came back. They came back so badly her hind legs were so stocked up she was oozing serum, too. Nothing had changed - in her turnout paddock, feed, supplements, etc. Her brothr was unaffected.
She was only on the same local hay I had brought in earlier in the year, cut out all grain, everythig...
Finally, I took her down to my vet's place and from that moment they went away with no medication. Four days later brought her home and she was fine.
Go figure - 'cos we can't.
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Last summer a lot of horses in my area (including mine) came down with persistent cases of hives that didn't respond to the usual treatments. Some vets were prescribing SMZs; i never really understood the rationale, but something to do with a secondary fungal infection--? I resisted for quite a while (with my vet's approval), because I don't see how antibiotics would treat an apparent allergic reaction. Finally after several months of this, out of desperation I tried a course of SMZs and the skin problems cleared up immediately and stayed away (same story with numerous acquaintences). Sure wish I'd tried it sooner...Maybe someone can explain why it worked.