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Hives that keep coming back

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  • Hives that keep coming back

  • #2
    Has the vet considered a seasonal allergy? Or could he have developed an allergy to something in his feed? I see you have a brick barn - could it be a mold allergy? I've had a TB with hives once but he responded to treatment within hours. I hope you get to the bottom of this...he (and you) must be miserable.


    • #3
      Little to add, but could someone educate me on why metronidazole is used for a horse with previous liver failure?

      The gelding I'm leasing popped up with 5 or 6 big hives in random places a week ago, too. They're slowly fading, no other symptoms, no changes at all in his diet or environment. Can't figure it out, but I'm hoping it's just a "thing".
      Click here before you buy.


      • #4
        I have been struggling with ramdon hives since the beginning of November. The first time I thought it was some type of bug bite, but the next series happened in December. I suspect there is a weed in the hay that is setting him off. No rhyme or reason but it happens. I vote something ingested.


        • #5
          I just went thru this with my older warmblood. He had hives this summer from insect bites. My vet gave him a steriod shot and covered him in mask and sheet and fly spray when out.(Steriod shot possibly cause anhidrosis, solved with Himalayan salt lick and Guiness beer!) Shot lasted about 3 months. In early Nov. he broke out in hives. None on neck or head just body from withers back. I decided not to body clip because like your horse, blankets make it much worse. I gave him 5 cc's of dex and it only lasted a week at a time. Did the elimination thing for a couple of weeks, starting with his smartpaks. Didn't help much so vet came and took blood for allergy test and gave him another steriod shot. Big Thing-she said take away all alfalfa for now. He ate Timothy 1st cut and Pennfield Senior Feed. I read that flax was great for allergies. So I put him on Omega Horseshine. Test came back: allergic to Alfalfa, Soybean, Oats and Insects. Borderline for Rice bran and corn pollen. So now he is on a beetpulp based Senior Feed and Timothy. No hives so far and I just started blanketing him in a light breathable turnout(below 25 here). He never had problems with alfalfa before but maybe age and hypersensitivity after the hives this summer has made him more sensitive to things now. If your horse is on Alfalfa, take him off for a few weeks and see what happens. Add a flax product and canola oil and see how he does.
          Good Luck! I know all to well how frustrating it is.


          • #6
            Poor Slim!

            Did this all start around the time of blanketing? Could he be allergic to laundry detergent the blanket were washed in? Have you recently rewashed them. I know random.

            I am guessing its something in the hay since I hear Sarge has had them as well.

            Good Luck! Give Slim a kiss for me!
            I love cats, I love every single cat....
            So anyway I am a cat lover
            And I love to run.


            • #7
              Originally posted by deltawave View Post
              Little to add, but could someone educate me on why metronidazole is used for a horse with previous liver failure?
              I'm not sure of the specific function that allows it to be beneficial, but the vet I worked for uses it with great results in small animls. It's much less expensive than a drug like Ursodiol, and usually doesn't cause loss of appetite. I've seen some amazing turn-arounds in jaundiced, even eldery animals with off the chart liver values, with this useful little drug.

              Maybe Ghazzu can comment on this, or I can report back later with the exact answer.


              • #8
                What does the "ooze" look like? Does it look like dried yellow crust?
                Anney Daugherty
                Winsmore Farm


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for all of the responses! It's always good to get more opinions

                  We live in Colorado, so mold is an unlikely suspect. His stall IS right next to the wash rack, but he's been there for a couple years, and its hardly been in use since its gotten cold out. But I will keep it in mind!

                  What I was told when we put him on the Metro was that it helps keep the blood flowing through the liver, and that part of his original problem was that his blood was super sludgy and just not moving. My vet said that they weren't sure WHY it worked, just that it did so no questions from me!! Hope that was a little helpful, maybe someone knows more recent information.

                  The barn that I board at buys hay once a year, really good quality hay, and they switched batches about a month after the problem started. So another dead end haha seems like we've had a lot of those! And there is no alfalfa in it. We are really careful to keep Slim on a low protein diet to help the liver out.

                  Nothing with blankets had changed, I hadn't washed them, and we even put a waffle weave under all his blankets when this started...but the hives came back again.

                  But there was one new thing tonight. His pustules don't bother him at all, I can push as hard as possible and he just doesn't care. I've also been out of town so he's been stuck in his stall, so I decided to throw my bareback pad on him and go for a little walk with a bit of trot thrown in for kicks. He is like a little oven, and got fairly warm under the bareback pad. I checked the hives/pustules/whatever you want to call them and the ones underneath me had gotten noticeable bigger. So I am wondering if this could be a heat thing? We did have an unusually warm fall/winter except for a recent cold snap. Every time the hives have come back, it has been warm. NO problem during the cold spell. Has anyone ever heard of anhidrosis being associated with hives? Or am I just reaching now?


                  • #10
                    Have you tried MSM? I have a mare that gets hives like your guy, huge wheals, all over the place, even on her face! They would come and go, different times of the year, no changes in hay, bedding, blankets etc... she'd even get them middle of the winter, outside and unblanketed. I tried all sorts of things and last resort was to put her on daily MSM, and knock wood she has not had a hive in almost a year.

                    Tracy Geller
                    Facebook Page


                    • #11
                      Nothing to add, except my late gelding use to regularly get them starting in mid to late December. Never really figured out what it was. Sometimes they would get pretty bad and he would get the oozing with the ventral edema etc. Good luck!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sixpoundfarm View Post
                        Have you tried MSM? I have a mare that gets hives like your guy, huge wheals, all over the place, even on her face! They would come and go, different times of the year, no changes in hay, bedding, blankets etc... she'd even get them middle of the winter, outside and unblanketed. I tried all sorts of things and last resort was to put her on daily MSM, and knock wood she has not had a hive in almost a year.

                        That's really hives? I've never seen anything like that before. The OP posted pictures of her horse and from my single experience with hives, my horse looked exactly like that - perhaps worse but they looked just like that. The pictures above look quite different (and odd!). [adorable horse though! ]


                        • #13
                          Have you had blood work done again recently? How was his pulse after riding? I would be worried about something else going on at this point. Long-term pred use isn't something I would like to use on a 'liver' patient. Did you try benadrly or hydroxzyzine? Maybe dex for a couple days followed by one of those drugs? I would check with the vet tosee if that's suggested, of course, but it might be an alternate option not involving long-term steroid use.

                          I don't think them increasing in size after exercise or heat is a good thing...I might be over-reacting, but better to be safe. Maybe try to give him a medicated bath, I know its cold. Mine never did well with a betadine wash, too drying & led to an even itchier horse. Better luck with pyoben or the aveeno oatmeal wash.


                          • #14
                            Anney Daugherty
                            Winsmore Farm


                            • #15
                              If he wears blankets and it was the shavings could the shavings residue still be on the blankets? My horse is very allergic to some types of shavings, none of the other horses had a problem with them but he sure did!


                              • #16
                                I feel your pain. Montana has pretty severe allergies (hives AND RAO). Absolutely nothing in his life changed before his symptoms began. Just like people, horses develop allergies over time with repeated exposure. It is extremely rare for a horse/person to be allergic to something the first time they encounter it.

                                For years, he had on-and-off hives. It wasn't until he developed RAO symptoms that we ran an allergy panel. He is allergic to corn, oats, molasses, several pollens (including pretty much ever grass except fescue), a handful of molds, and a few insects - 23 positives in all. Basically, he is just plain allergic.

                                So, we manage him this way:

                                (1) He eats TC Lite. We avoid round bales when at all possible.

                                (2) He is on 24/7 turnout most of the time, which helps him except in extreme weather. Very hot/humid or very cold times of year are hard on him, so we try to stall him during that kind of weather.

                                (3) Flaxseed seems to help the hives. He gets Benadryl for mild/moderate symptoms and Dex if warranted.

                                (4) I body clip him in winter and try to keep him as clean as possible. If he gets dirty/sweaty and isn't cleaned up as quickly as possible, he will break out in hives.

                                (5) I am VERY cautious about what topical products I apply to his coat. Even the things that he can tolerate can NEVER be sprayed/applied when he is wet, or he will break out in hives almost immediately.

                                I hope some of that might help you a little. It is really a trial and error situation to see what your horse can and cannot tolerate and what seems to help the symptoms. Good luck with your guy!


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                  Little to add, but could someone educate me on why metronidazole is used for a horse with previous liver failure?

                                  The gelding I'm leasing popped up with 5 or 6 big hives in random places a week ago, too. They're slowly fading, no other symptoms, no changes at all in his diet or environment. Can't figure it out, but I'm hoping it's just a "thing".
                                  Changes the gut flora to lower the ammonia producing organisms. Also is anti-inflammtory and anti-endotoxin. Also protects liver from anaerobes.

                                  Seems strange to give a hepatotoxic compound to animals with liver failure, but it does seem to help in horses and dogs....
                                  Turn off the computer and go ride!


                                  • #18
                                    Ah, so used a little bit like we'd use Lactulose. I agree that it seems strange to use such a nasty drug to HELP the liver. But as I've said before, animals are weird.
                                    Click here before you buy.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                      Ah, so used a little bit like we'd use Lactulose. I agree that it seems strange to use such a nasty drug to HELP the liver. But as I've said before, animals are weird.
                                      Yup, Lactulose is used as well in vet med....
                                      Turn off the computer and go ride!


                                      • #20
                                        My mare got all-over body hives as soon as I put her heavy winter blanket on. I thought it a coincidence, but stopped using it and put her medium back on. They went away, but since vet had come out and given her a shot, the connection of hives to blanket wasn't clear. When it got cold enough, I put heavy back on and hives came back. Both blankets had been professional cleaned over the summer by the same person using the same soap, but I had her rinse the heavy with clear water and the hives have not returned after that. Go figure.