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Red-headed TBs and the never-ending battle with hives... advice needed.

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  • Red-headed TBs and the never-ending battle with hives... advice needed.

    Hi all-

    I've had my red-headed TB for 2 months now and we are struggling with on again off again hives. Since losing his winter coat (FINALLY, he seriously had 3 inch long goat hairs that would just not go away) he's broken out in hives 3 times. We're trying to piece together a common thread to find a sourse -- and at this stage we're likely to guess that he's simply thin-skinned and the bugs are making him crazy. He lives outside 24/7 (and does not like being inside), he's got a really nice fly sheet on the way (extra long with 80% UV coverage) and the vet gave him a small doze of antihistamine last time he had an outbreak (and she was not too concerned with them). I'm hoping you guys might have some feedback on a good supplement to add to his feed to help with the hives/bugs. There are so many out there and I am a bit overwhelmed for choice!

    The hives don't seem to be bothering him, but being a sensitive skinned person myself, I can't imagine they are much fun. We have used a natural fly spray on him a couple of times and that's the only common thread we can see that would MAYBE be causing a hive reaction.

    Please help!

  • #2
    I have a red headed TB also. My best guess would be to try a feed thru fly repellant and eliminate the fly spray. Cheval International (I think they are in South Dakota) makes a product called Inside Out. It is a feed thru fly repellant that also has antiiflammatory properties. My red head would get welts from fly bites the size of walnuts but never again with the above product. I am thinking that the aniiflammatory properties of the product would also help the hives.
    "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope

    Comment


    • #3
      *raises hand* my horse will puff up with a 4 INCH DIAMETER CIRCLE from one mosquito bite, poor little red head thoroughbred baby butt!

      -he lives in a fly sheet and mask; I've slowly added fly boots, neck sheet and there's a cool product that's kind of like a belly guard, it straps around their back and protects just their belly, where fly sheets don't.

      -rotate fly sprays weekly, I have super bad noseeums here, and we've found rotating fly sprays works best.

      -cashel quiet ride mask, they now have clothing too for rising

      -ive heard great things about Smart BugOff, I'd try that

      -ETA: he also gets MSM for anti-inflammatory properties (if you don't show, you can add in yucca too), and for bad bites we clay them to draw it out.

      Comment


      • #4
        Horse used to have hives constantly. Fly sheet and mask 24/7, MSM is also REALLY helpful. MSM has anti inflammatory properties.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          So thankful for the solidarity with redheads! I've read some good stuff about nettle leaf powder too. Smart Bug Off might be a good start. He doesn't seem overly dramatic about flies etc right now, but then again he's been a bit unsound for riding for the last month. He's also on OmegaShine which has done wonders for his coat.

          Originally posted by TBRedHead View Post
          *raises hand* my horse will puff up with a 4 INCH DIAMETER CIRCLE from one mosquito bite, poor little red head thoroughbred baby butt!

          -he lives in a fly sheet and mask; I've slowly added fly boots, neck sheet and there's a cool product that's kind of like a belly guard, it straps around their back and protects just their belly, where fly sheets don't.

          -rotate fly sprays weekly, I have super bad noseeums here, and we've found rotating fly sprays works best.

          -cashel quiet ride mask, they now have clothing too for rising

          -ive heard great things about Smart BugOff, I'd try that

          -ETA: he also gets MSM for anti-inflammatory properties (if you don't show, you can add in yucca too), and for bad bites we clay them to draw it out.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm encountering the same issues with my gelding. Unfortunately, he lives out with 5 other playful geldings and no flysheet can withstand their rough and tough ways, so I'm trying to let him go naked this year. I've been dousing him in fly spray, but it only does so much.

            Do feed through fly control products really work?? I'm very interested, but am doubtful about how effective they really are.
            Team Ginger

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            • #7
              Dark bay TB mare here, but same sensitive skin issues.

              Fly sheet. I find I only need it from dusk to dawn (for the culicoides, mosquitoes and no-see-ums). During the day the regular flies are not that bad here (FL) and I just use a mask and a light coating of Tri Tec 14.

              You can give benedryl; ask your vet for a dose.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by NErider View Post
                I'm encountering the same issues with my gelding. Unfortunately, he lives out with 5 other playful geldings and no flysheet can withstand their rough and tough ways, so I'm trying to let him go naked this year. I've been dousing him in fly spray, but it only does so much.

                Do feed through fly control products really work?? I'm very interested, but am doubtful about how effective they really are.
                Luckily he's only turned out with one other gelding and they seem to keep the peace okay. His winter gear never really suffered. From what I've heard you get what you pay for with flysheets so I got him a nice (TB specific) one from Schneider's.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I had a TB that broke out in hives after using an all natural fly spray. My vet said they can actually get stronger in the sun so can cause problems on sensitive horses.

                  My current TB (a sensitive red-head) has battled w rain rot, scratched and one time, hives. We think the hives were a reaction to a weed of some sort and he hasn't had a repeat performance, yet. **knock wood!!**

                  He's currently on platinum w their added skin and coat suppliment that is supposed to help w immune issues, as well. It's EXPENSIVE but seems to be keeping things at bay. He's still fairly young so I'm hoping his immune system becomes a little mire resilient w age!!

                  Good luck!
                  You can't fix stupid.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by B Street Tango View Post
                    I had a TB that broke out in hives after using an all natural fly spray. My vet said they can actually get stronger in the sun so can cause problems on sensitive horses.

                    My current TB (a sensitive red-head) has battled w rain rot, scratched and one time, hives. We think the hives were a reaction to a weed of some sort and he hasn't had a repeat performance, yet. **knock wood!!**

                    He's currently on platinum w their added skin and coat suppliment that is supposed to help w immune issues, as well. It's EXPENSIVE but seems to be keeping things at bay. He's still fairly young so I'm hoping his immune system becomes a little mire resilient w age!!

                    Good luck!
                    Yea, the only thing me and the BO could tie together was maybe the fly spray (as the hives coincided twice with us using it). I think we'll eliminate that and add a bug repellant to his feed -- he also got hives right after buttercups sprouted in his pasture. It's since been mowed (again, slight improvement there). And yea, he has a mild case of rain rot too!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You are not alone. My grey gets them, no rhyme or reason. Vet just gives her Dex, which I give after one loading dose and then half package for a couple of days. He is super nonchalant about them - me, not so much.
                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have a chestnut, very thin skinned TB. He is very bug sensitive and also gets hives sometimes.

                        For turnout, he wears this fly sheet:

                        http://www.sstack.com/Horse-Blankets...mbo-Fly-Sheet/

                        Unless it is absolutely so hot as to be intolerable, in which case he wears this one:

                        http://www.sstack.com/Horse-Blankets...nd-Fly-Sheet/#

                        With the first one, he gets very good protection from biting insects and we have very few problems. With the second one, he still gets bitten, and we end up with hives, etc. Last year, he got two bug bites that turned into rock hard lumps (of COURSE right in the saddle area). The vet was considering injecting them with something, but I opted to leave them alone and they disappeared finally over about a year.

                        He also wears Flysect Super 7 fly spray and a cashel mask with ears. We do fairly well with this setup, but, yes, he still gets bitten and he will still get a little hivey from time to time.

                        If he has hives that are worse than usual, I have given him Benadryl (the people kind). I believe I gave him 10 at a time, but you would want to check the dosage with your vet (I have not given it in a while).

                        Good luck! You will get used to managing a redhead. Really, you will. You will just start to learn how to deal with things like this over time and it will become second nature. Other people will think you are insane...unless they also own a sensitive chestnut...but you will learn to live with the judgment, ha ha!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Oh! And I should add that the barn I am at uses fly predators and a feed through fly control that I believe makes it so that the flies can't live once they are born in the manure (or something). That second one has to be given to EVERY horse on the property, though, so you would need whole-barn buy in to make it work.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I am the queen of sensitive skinned TBs. Neither of mine have been chestnut, though (bright bay and black/brown).

                            Toby is very sensitive to what goes on his skin (versus Vernon, who was mostly food allergies that manifested as hives, and some seriously easily rubbed skin). I use the most useless fly spray ever (it helps...a little), keep him bundled in a fly sheet (bugs actually don't bother him but the rest of the world does...including rain), and rinse him if he breaks the tiniest bit of sweat (he's allergic to his sweat). I also can't use anything with colloidal oatmeal in it (that made a disaster of a skin episode even WORSE). So, yeah, I'm familiar with this.

                            Definitely play the elimination game. Only take one thing out at a time, though, and try not to change his environment at the same time.

                            Is he recently off the track (say, within the last year)? It is very common for them to FREAK THE EFF OUT at first, skin wise, then settle done to something more normal. I have a horse in my barn who did just that. Now that he's starting to adjust, he's starting to look really good.

                            The rain rot may not actually be rain rot, but the last phase of the hives. I've been going through this cycle for years between my two horses. They break out in hives, they get scabby and gross like rain rot, the scabs come off and now they're bald. Very, very common.

                            You may have to play with what works best for him. Vernon I bathed ALL THE TIME. It helped a lot (I used something gentle and cheap, like Ivory or Dawn, most of the time, but would also use Cortisooth or Keratolux on occasion). With Toby, I RARELY bathe him, because it dries his skin out and makes him even more prone to issues. If I do, I use the cheap/gentle options or Keratolux (he's allergic to Cortisooth).

                            Both boys got some help from additional Omega 3s. I like SmartShine Ultra, SmartOmega, and Cocosoya (Of course, Toby recently decided he didn't like Cocosoya anymore...so now I have to put him on something different ). I am indifferent to MSM. Never helped Vernon and I don't know if it helped Toby or not...we did a lot of other things that also helped around the same time I started MSM. I just took him off of it, so if he starts breaking out constantly, we'll know it helped!

                            Good luck! They are a PITA. I knew Toby and I were destined when I took one look at him and instantly recognized the signs of a sensitive skinned horse- fleece girth and mottled coat from growing back it growing back after an episode.
                            Amanda

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yellowbritches - no matter how many times you inform me that Vernon is not chestnut, I still picture him as a chestnut. LOL!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                No day time turn out..it's just to hot and he s not used to it...files gnats etc plus the white clover and butter cups....nite turn out fly sheet fly spray and in before its hot n buggy....he had no hay or feed allergies all winter nor a problem with straw...if he is supplements stop them as well.....it's not his Ted coat it's his big pink nose........just wanted to add fly sheets during the day time in hot humid weather IMHO made my horses sweat and miserable..at one point I had 20 plus horses in fly sheets and masks....got better results in night time turn out....

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I don't have a red-head but I do have a super sensitive thin skinned TB who broke out into 100's of hives this past Spring. Some of his hives were raised half an inch and 4 inches across. He looked horrible. What seems to be working for us now is a course of oral dexamethasone, and 20 tabs a day of hydroxyzine. I also fly mask and fly sheet him, bathe him with tea tree oil shampoo, and use pyranha fly spray...the only fly spray that really seems to keep the bugs off. We also had other allergy symptoms including a runny nose and a bit of a cough. He is 100% better now. I also just added APF to his grain..it's supposed to help support the immune system.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I've read in a handful of articles and others feedback that flaxseed can help with the hives. I haven't started our horse on it yet but it's fairly cheap and has other benefits so I'm going to give it a whirl on my sensitive TB
                                    "If you've got a horse, you've got a problem"

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by wishnwell View Post
                                      I've read in a handful of articles and others feedback that flaxseed can help with the hives. I haven't started our horse on it yet but it's fairly cheap and has other benefits so I'm going to give it a whirl on my sensitive TB
                                      Flax does help with my TB's hives. He's prone to random swellings and his hives were worse this spring without flax. I put him back on it a few weeks ago and hives are slowly getting better without anything else.

                                      I give him dexamethasone when they're really bad, and there are certain fly sprays I can't use on him. Absorbine Ultrashield, in the black bottle, works well and doesn't cause a reaction. A good fly sheet will help.

                                      ETA he's normally dark bay but bleaches out to blotchy red-head status over the summer
                                      I love my Econo-Nag!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                                        Yellowbritches - no matter how many times you inform me that Vernon is not chestnut, I still picture him as a chestnut. LOL!
                                        Ha! I know, right? His vet used to say Vernon THOUGHT he was a chestnut. But, no.

                                        Vernon, in all his bay glory.

                                        And, Toby the Little Black Horse.

                                        Both the most sensitive skinned horses I've ever known. I know how to pick em!
                                        Amanda

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