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Allergic to horses

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    Allergic to horses

    I have an 8 year old niece who is full on, little girl horse crazy. Yay right? Well.... she has major allergy issues as in spent many a day in Nemours Children's hospital because of how severe the nut and seasame allergies are. She just went through a whole new battery of testing to determine what things she is currently allergic too (apparently that often changes between 7 & 8 years of age). But much to her dismay, she still had a pretty big reaction to horses. In the winter, it's work-aroundable. She can wear long sleeves, gloves, etc and take a Benadryl beforehand. But in the summer, it's a little harder and I worry a lot about her coming in contact with fly spray ingredients etc too. So has anyone dealt with this issue before? And totally out of the box question but are there breeds of horses that are less likely to cause allergies to flare up?

    Edited to add that her doctors have okay'd shorter amounts of exposure and her mother is also a doctor- I would definitely not be taking this on willy- nilly
    Last edited by tabula rashah; Jul. 1, 2020, 02:55 PM.
    Wouldst thou like the taste of butter ? A pretty dress? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?

    IIRC the Bashkir Curly is "hypo-allergenic" - sorta like Poodles.

    But.... as with any allergy, the more exposure to the allergen, the greater risk for increasing the allergic response.
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


      One of my sons is severely allergic to peanuts and is also very allergic to horses. I make sure to give him Children’s Claritin if he starts to get itchy. It is a sad allergy to have when you live on a horse farm!

      he does ride sometimes, but we make sure to give him Claritin at least 15-20 minutes before.

      and make sure to keep an epipen on hand, just in case.


        I am supposed to be strongly allergic to horses but I only seem to react (severe hives) when it’s heavy shedding season and other allergen loads are high. On those days I just do minimal grooming. I’m allergic to everything, but I have to live my life so I find a way to make do.

        Frequent bathing should help as well since the allergen is the dander.


          When I was a kid I was told I allergic to horses, hay, bees and cats. The allergist said to get rid of the animals. My Mom thank god asked about prescription alternatives. I took Claritin (this was before it was OTC) and carry an epipen. It was reduced to minor hives and some itching using the Claritin.


            My daughter also has allergies, probably more to dust than to horses in particular.

            I'd recommend getting her sun shirts so she can wear long sleeves year round (my daughter does) and gloves. I'd also set it up so that she isn't grooming dirty horses. Either someone else does it, or the horse gets a bath instead/first. Horses in regular work and/or in stalls may not be too dirty. Consider having her use a mask (yes, we had one before all this). There are all kinds of reusable ones designed for athletes with allergies.

            The sun shirts I like best are Kastel Denmark and ExOfficio. They are both cool and have enough weave to keep her skin protected.

            Claritin is a help but also if her allergies are severe I hope you are working with a physician on this. She may need to have an epipen on the grounds with her.
            If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


              I have allergies to the dust, excess hair shedding and hay at the barn. It usually causes hives, red/watery eyes and lots of sneezing (just so you have a comparison).

              I agree with poltroon to look into sunshirts. I often wear long sleeved shirts to help offset the hives after feeding hay. My mother also has an over active immune system and wears gloves whenever grooming the horse. I also have Clariton on hand and Reactin.


                I think you are handling it well and thinking about the right things.

                One note about fly sprays...the chemicals are actually neurotoxins. I think you are spot on for thinking about that. There is not enough research to say what these chemicals do to developing brains. Since it used "outdoors" there is less scrutiny. But horse people have prolonged contact with these chemicals as we groom, ride, and spend hours around our horses. We inhale droplets of fly spray when we spray down the horses.

                We use only natural fly sprays and fly predators, even down here in the land of bugs. Works well enough to keep horses comfy and no worries about the highly toxic chemicals used.


                  I am allergic!

                  I don't groom really ever...thankfully I live in the south, so most of the time the weather is fine to just hose off dirt. Despite what my Pony Club training told me, my horses have all survived JUST FINE for many many years with minimal brushing.

                  It is also SUPER important that I essentially follow the COVID rules every day at the barn - wash my hands well and often in order to get dander/dust/hair off - right after any brushing/hoof picking, right before i leave, etc., NEVER touch my face, keep my hair well kept up in a ponytail and under a hat or helmet at all times so I am not tempted to put my hands near my face/eyes, NEVER eat at the barn. etc.


                    My daughter, now almost 33, found out years ago she is allergic to horses, dogs, and cats. Her doctor has finally prescribed her something that actually works.
                    I had been suggesting for years that she wear a mask while grooming. Well, Covid-19 barn restrictions mandated that she did. Guess what? Her mother was correct.....
                    What you allow is what will continue.


                      Just reading about wearing the surgical masks made me remember that wearing one while in the barn has actually helped my allergies quite a bit too! I also notice how much dust and dander is in the area after I take it off! Quite shocking to see everything you actually breath in without a mask!


                        I'm allergic to most animals, have been all my life. The only parts of my skin that don't react are my palms, so since I was very little I learnt to only ever touch animals with my palms, and to never ever touch my face without very thorough hand washing.

                        I don't groom my horse, ever, because that is just asking for trouble. I do enjoy washing him though. The more I go to the barn, the less severe my reactions are. If I'm away for a few weeks and then see my horse again, I know to take anti-histamines the first few visits.

                        It depends on the severity of the reaction. A lot of it can be controlled through learnt behaviours (but obviously not anaphylaxis-type reactions).


                          Nothing to add as you have gotten some good advice, but my daughter was diagnosed with grass allergies at age 10. We boarded at a barn that they didn't mow very often and she would start swelling and her eyes would literally tear up as we drove up the drive. Through the last few years, she has gotten slightly better. Of course, she is also allergic to hay (obviously). I used to not let her touch it but she recently got a mustang and she has started handling the hay in small amounts and her allergies seem to actually be lessening in severity. She still can't go play in the yard after the grass is freshly cut, but other than that the severity has lessened. Sometimes, under a doctors direction of course, short contact with the allergen could possibly help.


                            Original Poster

                            Thank you for you all the suggestions. I will pass them along to her mother and hopefully we can get her some more horse time
                            Wouldst thou like the taste of butter ? A pretty dress? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?


                              My allergies were never as severe as your niece’s but I was like WildLittleWren daughter in the sense that they got better the more I was around cats, horses and hay. Now I’m where if I meet a cat they flare up like crazy because I’ve been cat less. If the hay changes, I’m covered in hives.


                                I have been allergic to horses for many years but it only affects me in the winter in the morning when all the horses are in and the barn was shut tight. It seemed to become less of a problem as the years passed.

                                Now when the Covid came on the scene I remembered the masks I had in the barn for grooming. Sure enough I had several unused ones. Came in handy.