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  • Hives

    Brought the horses in tonight because of a possible storm so when I checked my mare over I noticed the bumps. Poor thing has them all over her nose, muzzel, neck, flanks, few on her chest that I noticed. She didn't have them when I gave the hay at 3pm. Hives are a new thing for us.

    I gave her bute hoping that will help but will call the vet asap tomorrow. I do have dex on hand for her resp. allergies in case they pop up.

    Last year's allergy test shows that she is allergic to deer flies.

    I did notice a giant black biting bug on her leg when I tossed her hay. It was as long as my thumb. Horse fly?

    Do I turn out like normal tomorrow?

  • #2
    With cases of severe hives I'm generally more comfortable having the vet out primarily because of the possibility of anaphylaxis developing.

    The vet may examine the horse to assess the cause, give the horse a shot of dex to reverse the reaction, recommend bathing the horse to remove/neutralize any allergens from the horses coat, and possibly recommend keeping the horse inside until the symptoms resolve.

    In my experience, not reversing a severe reaction of hives with medication, may lead to the wheals (the bumps) rupturing. The horse can then become covered with open sores that weep clear fluid (serum), and those sores may expose the horse to the possibility of developing a secondary skin infection.

    Hives is a subject that I think most horse owners with no experience of ever dealing with cases of hives, are generally better off having a vet out. Even if it's only for the purpose of having the vet teach them how to evaluate the severity, learn the risks to be aware of, the protocol of treatment, the procedure for finding the cause, managing the horses care to keep the horse comfortable, and the methodology for attempting to eliminate further episodes from occurring.


    • Original Poster

      Well I was going to call the vet but checked on her this morning but she is much much better . She still has a few on her body slighty raised so I'm going to keep her in away from the bugs today. All the ones hives that were on her face are gone.

      I hope this doesn't mean her allergies to deer flies are getting worse?

      It's hard to know what to do as she's sensitive to fly spray and she's sensitive to deer flies *poor mare*. When I spray her with fly spray she starts blowing snot. Fly sheet is going back on even though it's hot.

      Thankfully she hasn't started coughing this year (summer heaves). Yet.


      • #4
        Are you sure they were hives? The ones one her nose sound suspicious. Could she have gotten into a nest of ground bees? They are horrific around here lately.
        My guy gets hives several times a year and they usually are along his jugular and his barrel, can't say as he has ever hand them on his nose.


        • #5
          One of my guys will randomly come in, covered with hives on the front half of his body. I dont know what causes them--they only happen maybe once or twice a year. If he seems pretty uncomfortable, he gets dex. Generally I practice benign neglect and see how he does over a few hours if he doesnt seem too itchy and uncomfortable.

          Either way, definitely good to have some dex on hand. If you're worried about a worsened allergy, definitely voice your concerns to your vet!
          Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
          White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

          Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


          • #6
            My guy has his "hive" days. I just hose him off a couple times with cold water and usually they are gone the next day.
            Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
            Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
            Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
            Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook


            • #7
              Sometimes what looks like hives is really bug or spider bites. Once had one roll on an ant hill-that was a mess but a relief once we knew what had happened.

              You might want to go walk your pasture. Maybe take a couple of friends and walk arms length apart until you cover all of it. Does not take that long and you'd be surprised what you might find.

              I used to just cold hose them, maybe give dex or an antihistimine but really don't think they ever helped that much. Seem to clear up in about 3 days whether I gave them anything or just cold hosed. And, yes, turn them out the next day AFTER you go check your pasture.

              Obviously if they are oozing fluid, really painful or the horse is running a fever, you need to call the vet.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


              • #8
                Originally posted by findeight View Post
                Sometimes what looks like hives is really bug or spider bites. Once had one roll on an ant hill-that was a mess but a relief once we knew what had happened.

                You might want to go walk your pasture. Maybe take a couple of friends and walk arms length apart until you cover all of it. Does not take that long and you'd be surprised what you might find.

                I used to just cold hose them, maybe give dex or an antihistimine but really don't think they ever helped that much. Seem to clear up in about 3 days whether I gave them anything or just cold hosed. And, yes, turn them out the next day AFTER you go check your pasture.

                Obviously if they are oozing fluid, really painful or the horse is running a fever, you need to call the vet.
                Bug or spider bites themselves, are not urticaria (hives). Although they may become the cause for an allergic response of hives.

                The development of anaphylaxis is a concern when a horse presents with urticaria, and in my opinion the prudent horse keeper should be aware of the risks.

                1. An eruption of itching wheals, collquially called hives, usually of systemic origin; it may be due to a state of hypersensitivity to foods or drugs, foci of infection, physical agents (heat, cold, light, friction), or psychic stimuli."

                1. An induced systemic or generalized sensitivity; at times the term anaphylaxis is used for anaphylactic shock. The term is commonly used to denote the clinical reaction seen with system IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reaction. Multivalent antigen crosslinks IgE on the surface of tissues mast cells, causing degranulation with release of preformed mediators (histamine). Generation of newly synthesized mediators occurs rapidly. The physiologic manifestations reflect the biologic effects of these mediators. Cutaneous symptoms include pruritus, erythema, urticaria, and angioedema. Respiratory compromise can come from laryngeal obstruction or bronchospasm. Cardiac effects include arrhythmia, hypotension, and shock. The reaction may be fatal if asphyxiation or cardiovascular collapse occurs."