The Neverending Hives; myself, trainer, & vet all out of ideas - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 02-19-2012, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
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The Neverending Hives; myself, trainer, & vet all out of ideas

So I love my pony dearly, and I take excellent care of her. I often get laughed at for "bubble wrapping" her because she is so special. And now (well since September), out of the blue, she has had hives!

It wasn't that bad at first, little patches of small bumps here and there that would go away in a day or so and then it started to get worse and worse. I clipped her around the middle of October when she didn't have an outbreak, head, legs, and all. I was hoping that would cut down on her episodes but by December about 50-60% of her body was covered in hives. Again, small bumps, down her neck, over the majority of her barrel, not on her back, on her flanks and the sides of her butt, and down her legs. I clipped her again on the 23 when it was the worst and gave her some Dex and that seemed to calm everything down for a few days.

Around the 28th the hives arrived again on her neck and shoulders mainly on the left side and I got my bottle of Dex and she's been on that in varying doses between 5cc and 1/2cc ever since.

Since the onset she has gone from not wearing blankets to wearing blankets to not again (NC is having an unusually warm winter) and there has been no direct correlation between heat or sweat and the hives. I've tried working her and not working her. She's gone from being on Strategy, to just plain oats and canola oil. She is on a dirt lot with controlled access (Hotwire gate) to grass, so she's not getting into weeds because she doesn't go out on her grass all the time. The trees all have fence around them so the horses can't chew on them, so she's not eating tree bark. The fencing is not treated with creosote. The other horse in her pasture has only had hives once in all this time and it did not coincide with my pony's episode. We've tried watering the hay. Their water tub is dumped and scrubbed at least once a week. We've put a cribbing collar on her so she can't chew on the fence wood (yay for her being short). We get a new load of hay every 2-3 weeks and the only horse on the farm that has a problem with it has a dust cough, which is fixed by watering the hay. She's not getting in to another horse's feed, everyone is being careful about that. She gets fed twice a day and hay 3 times a day on top of that so its not like she's ever going long periods without food in which she feels the need to eat other things.

She's been treated with lymdyp "just incase" and it had no effect except to stink up her blankets. 2cc of Dex doesn't necessarily work on a reaction anymore, and she's starting to get cranky and sluggish so I'm weaning her off the Dex at the moment. I've used the Cortaid spray with success but it took almost the entire bottle and the hives came back again within a day or two. We've tried keeping her turned out on her grass during the day versus in her dirt lot but it doesn't make any difference. We haven't been able to do any allergy testing because she's been on the Dex but I think with such a strong reaction I'm hoping the blood test will be sufficient (for my wallet's sake).

I do want to say that my pony will eat (and has tried to) eat anything she can get her mouth on. There are dead leaves in her pasture from sweet gum trees and oak trees but it's already been ruled out because the dead leaves she occasionally nibbles on are black/brown and rotting on the ground. She could eat her whole paddock clean without any problems.

She has been on and off itchy and/or sensitive where her hives are and has rubbed out her hair in patches. Her hives are getting worse again though. I looked at them today and they are all over her belly and they're more like welts and it kind of looks like welts on welts, as well as her usual bumps on her shoulders.

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post #2 of 28 Old 02-19-2012, 03:13 AM
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Okay, this may sound extremely odd but just bare with me...I started doing the same exact thing last June, just breaking out in hives and welts for no reason on my legs. At first we just ruled it as an allergic reaction to something and I took it easy for a few days, no lotion or anything. It was okay for two days but then happened again, this time covering my legs and stomach. Again thought it was an allergic reaction to lotion, body wash, or clothes detergant. So I went and bought hypoallergenic everything..The hives just got worse and doctor had no idea what it was and by then it was covering my whole body..I went to two dermatologist and they did blood tests, skin tests, food tests, biopsies..the works and we couldn't figure anything out. I was of normal health just having allergic reactions everyday and would be covered in hives and welts from my toes to my hair...I finally saw an allergy specialist and I had to redo all of the tests and it was finally determined that I have an Autoimmune Disorder that causes my body to produce too many white blood cells and not enough red blood cells..on top of a really sucky immune system. body's allergy receptors are always huge and when I get stressed or really any high emotion my body thinks it's getting sick so my white blood cells attack eachother, causing a chemical to be released in my body and when that chemical hits my allergy receptors I have an allergic reaction..I'm now on three allergy meds, a steroid, and vitamins to control it, and it does to a point, we're still trying to find what works for me. I still have the allergic reactions everyday but they aren't as bad....end point, I'm having hives and welts for no good reason, and it won't show up except on certain tests and it's 8 months into treatment and we still can't seem to figure out why exactly I do's not allergies. It's called Autoimmune Utecaria.

My odd point is that maybe your horse has a low immune system and can have an Autoimmune Disorder like mine - if that's possible.. It won't show as allergies or any other "obvious" problem in any tests. It's just an extremely odd disorder..laugh! I may sound like a crazy person but if you've tried everything, it's definitely worth asking your vet about.

I am Sparkly Meanie Doodie Head and I approve this message!

Last edited by DrumRunner; 02-19-2012 at 03:15 AM.
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post #3 of 28 Old 02-19-2012, 03:32 AM Thread Starter
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I'll definitely ask her, if I'm going it have her out to draw blood she might as well check for a few other things. Thank you very much!

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post #4 of 28 Old 02-19-2012, 11:02 AM
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Could it be the detergent that you are using to wash the horse blankets in?

"The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with
him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too."

-Samuel Butler
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post #5 of 28 Old 02-19-2012, 11:28 AM
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There have been outbreaks of hives all over out here. My BOs horses slewpy and nugget both have them and a friend of mines horse scotty also broke out. We are at a loss for what it is also hope you find out!

just a small town girl with a big town dream :]
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post #6 of 28 Old 02-19-2012, 11:39 AM
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I'm wondering about contaminated feed. Are you feeding pellets? Oak leaves are not harmless, they contain tannic acid which can cause liver damage.

Last edited by Saddlebag; 02-19-2012 at 11:42 AM.
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post #7 of 28 Old 02-19-2012, 11:41 AM
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Out here we are thinking it is something airborn as all the horses breaking out are fed different feeds from different places only one got better from a feed change to cubes.

just a small town girl with a big town dream :]
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post #8 of 28 Old 02-19-2012, 12:55 PM
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Maybe a reaction to a detergent, a shampoo, maybe even a certain leather cleaner. Or something like what DrumRunner suggested. There is a horse at my barn who can only use a certain shampoo, detergent, etc or else he will break out.

Sully ~Sullivan's Fly Supply~ [17.1 TB] RIP 2/24/14
Rio ~Camperio~ [18.0 Oldenburg]
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post #9 of 28 Old 02-19-2012, 01:02 PM
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I vote with Drumrunner to approach this as a possible autoimmune disorder. I have one, too, that causes itchy skin instead of hives. This requires healing from the inside out - probiotics for the gut (seriously, the gut is the #1 autoimmune organ in the body) and D3 and omega 3 (fish oil, flaxseed); and B12 and other B vitamins to slow down the stress response.
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post #10 of 28 Old 02-19-2012, 01:17 PM
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Just talked about this with a friend who says they had a horse like this at the track (she's worked off and on the track forever) says try 2 tbs baking powder in her feed 2x a day and see if it makes a difference.
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