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riccil0ve 02-27-2011 10:31 AM

Winter hives = dietary allergy, but to what?
Hey folks. I noticed last night that my little one, Gracie [who will be three in August] has itchy hives. They are along the fleshy part of her elbow and along her girth, along her larynx, and some along the point of her buttocks. Okay, allergic reaction. But there is several inches of snow on the ground and freezing temperatures, so unless my horse is the only oddball allergic to snow, it has to be dietary, right?

My girls have undergone some dietary changes the past few months. First, from alfalfa hay to grass hay, a normal change every spring. Then from Safechoice grain to alfalfa pellets [she only gets two big handfuls]. And most recently, I added Horse Guard, a vit/min supplement. After talking to my vet, he says it would be odd for her to be reacting to any of those things. The most recent change was about three weeks ago, and the hives were not there 4-5 days ago.

They are itchy, especially around her elbow/girth. She does not seem to be in any respiratory distress, her temp was normal, and her appetite is normal. My vet says to stop what I started most recently, and if there is no change by Monday/Tuesday to let him know and stop the next most recent. I can give her benadryl, but am unsure if I should because I want to see if the hives go away.

The Horse Guard's first ingredient is corn flour, is that a likely culprit? I'll have to look up the ingredients, but she has been on Omelene 100 and 300 in the past, so I'm not sure if corn is in that. I can switch her to Purina Enrich as suggested by our Peggysue if I can't use Horse Guard for her anymore and see how that goes.

I also just bought some Berry Good treats, which would be a more likely culprit as I gave her one or two of those the last 5 days or so. Allergic to the berries in it?

God, I ramble a lot, lol. I just never want to leave out something important. Any input is appreciated, thank you for reading!

dee 02-27-2011 08:41 PM

We have a paint colt that had the same symptoms you described. We couldn't figure out what was wrong. Then he started losing weight - it just fell off until he looked like a walking skeleton. Poor guy had a problem with the alfalfa we were feeding him. It was apparently also what killed his dam.

I'm not saying that's what is wrong with your girl, that's just what was up with ours.

Just a thought, but could your grass hay have been sprayed with something before it was cut? Maybe an herbicide or pesticide? It wouldn't even have to have been sprayed on that particular field, it could have been blown onto it from a nearby field that was being sprayed...

riccil0ve 02-27-2011 09:14 PM

I suppose horses can develop allergies just like people, right? She was on alfalfa hay all winter, and I use the same hay guys I've always used. I'm not sure about a pesticide, but I suppose it's possible.

As an update, the hives are worse. All along her vest and shoulders and haunches. And as opposed to itchy, they are painful. From her reaction, very painful, because she flinches if you look like you're going to touch her.

I'm buying bananas tomorrow and hope pieces will disguise the benadryl. I can't see her like this, so Benadryl it is. =\

dee 02-27-2011 09:57 PM

I hate to hear that your girl is getting worse. It's scary, I know. Not knowing what the cause is makes it even worse. It could be anything - feed, environmental - even nerves. Maybe she's itching to get outside and play? IDK - Sounds like a vet visit may be in her future if it doesn't clear up. Poor baby!

riccil0ve 02-27-2011 10:08 PM

Well she lives outside 24/7, in the same pasture she's been in for a little over two years. And so much snow is still on the ground. My luck, she probably is allergic to snow. We will see how she does without grain and with benadryl, and go from there. I wish the weather was warmer, I could give her a bath and put some cortisone on her. But in all her winter woolie glory? Le sigh.

Thank you for you input and kind words, I really appreciate it. =]

Ladytrails 02-27-2011 10:42 PM

Is she blanketed? If so, is she maybe allergic to soap used for laundering them? I agree to take her back to the bare basics of feed/hay that she was fine with before, Benadryl for swelling and do you have Banamine for soft tissue pain? Poor girl! It could be anything in one of those feeds or treats - preservatives, inactive ingredients, or whatever. It might be the same feed but they changed one of the inactive ingredients or preservatives and she's allergic to that. You will eventually figure it out by the process of elimination but I'm sure you're having a hard time dealing with her discomfort in the meantime!

riccil0ve 02-27-2011 10:47 PM

Nope, no blanket. Even if she was, I'm allergic to laundry soap, so always use hypoallergenic, lol.

I don't have any banamine either. Bute, maybe, but no banamine. Hopefully the Benadryl will help soothe her, and pulling her off grain will stop them.

Maybe I'll sponge the bad parts off with warm water and maybe dish soap tomorrow in case it is a contact reaction.

riccil0ve 03-01-2011 02:05 PM

Yesterday I gave her 7 25mg Benadryl [per vet recommendation], and then washed her neck, chest and girth with warm water and dish soap. Then I rubbed Cortisone into her coat.

This morning, her hives were much better, especially on her neck and shoulders. It is still pretty bad around her girth, and a bit further back along her stomach, so I will wash that part again tonight. She got more Benadryl this morning, and hopefully she will continue to feel better.
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