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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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 worse..my 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. Soo..my 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 it..it'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.
 

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Could it be the detergent that you are using to wash the horse blankets in?
 

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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!
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all so much for responding. I'm going to try to respond in order.

We've thought about detergents but her blankets were washed ny different people (some by myself, some by my blanket cleaner) and we re-wased some with allergen free detergent just to be on the safe side.

Thank you so much barrel! I hope everyone there does too. And I really hope it's something more manageable than an airborne issue.

She was taken off her strategy and placed on plain oats and canola oil. All the feed is kept in bins and I feed pm 5 days a week so I'd notice if there was something visibly wrong with the grain. Also the tannic acid is mainly in the acorns and green oak leaves and breaks down as the leaves die. And even with green oak leaves she would have to eat a large amount to cause the poisoning (unlike eating the acorn where it takes a lot less because the tannic acid is concentrated).

Thank you for the suggestion I completely forgot to mention that I've stopped using all shampoos/sprays/cleaners around her. I have not been able to ride her in a saddle because of how bad the breakout is at her girth area but I do clean her bridle after every ride with bar glycerine soap and she has yet to break out on her face.

I'm definitely starting to think it could be autoimmune :(

Cakemom do you know the purpose of the baking powder? I'd definitely be interested in hearing more about it.
 

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Thank you all so much for responding. I'm going to try to respond in order.

We've thought about detergents but her blankets were washed ny different people (some by myself, some by my blanket cleaner) and we re-wased some with allergen free detergent just to be on the safe side.

Thank you so much barrel! I hope everyone there does too. And I really hope it's something more manageable than an airborne issue.

She was taken off her strategy and placed on plain oats and canola oil. All the feed is kept in bins and I feed pm 5 days a week so I'd notice if there was something visibly wrong with the grain. Also the tannic acid is mainly in the acorns and green oak leaves and breaks down as the leaves die. And even with green oak leaves she would have to eat a large amount to cause the poisoning (unlike eating the acorn where it takes a lot less because the tannic acid is concentrated).

Thank you for the suggestion I completely forgot to mention that I've stopped using all shampoos/sprays/cleaners around her. I have not been able to ride her in a saddle because of how bad the breakout is at her girth area but I do clean her bridle after every ride with bar glycerine soap and she has yet to break out on her face.

I'm definitely starting to think it could be autoimmune :(

Cakemom do you know the purpose of the baking powder? I'd definitely be interested in hearing more about it.
Assuming that baking powder means baking soda...it helps balance the pH in their stomach/body.
 

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I currently have one of my horses pastured in NC - so I closely watch the weather there. It has been a very, very mild winter. The chemical composition of grass that comes up in that type of weather can be different, and consistantly so. I would at least check w the state to see if there are more reports of the same - b/c the obviouse commonality would be...grass in a mild winter.
 

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I've got a mare that has had hives since mid December.......they are rather large and they over lap she also has big pockets of edema.....absolutely nothing has changed in her environment. The first time she had hives at 2.5 which quickly resolved ....she has since had them 3 more times each time getting worse........we will be looking into an autoimmune disease once I get back from a mini holiday at the end of Feb......we will run some blood work to see if it will provide any information that might help.

Super Nova
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you all. I'm really hoping for my wallet's sake that we don't have to do blood tests, but we can't do them until next week anyways because her last dose of dex is not until Friday (as she has to be weaned off slowly).

I'm really hoping it's not autoimmune right now because I was hoping to put her up for sale (actually at the beginning of the year) but I have to wait for these hives to clear up first. And it will be hard, if not impossible to sell a horse with an autoimmune disorder. Please keep your fingers crossed.

I'm going to worm her again, and I washed her and then sponged her down with a mix of water and baby oil so hopefully that will help the dry skin and maybe prevent further contact if it is a contact irritant. I will be deworming her (with ivermectin) again on Sunday or Monday (again waiting for the dex, don't want an interaction) because there's a slight possibility that parasites could be causing the hives, although both her dirt paddock and her grass pasture are picked daily to prevent worms and other parasites.

I also spent a good hour today painting pretty much every wood surface in her pasture with no chew because her and her pasture mate are eating their shed and fences to pieces. (I went through the entire $35 container!)

So steps are slow, no change in the hives, I guess it's good they're not getting worse. I was hoping to get her out to some shows this year before she sells but if I spend my show money on vet bills that won't happen :( I also refuse to take a hive covered pony off the farm, especially when I can't even put a saddle on her because the hives cover her girth area! I feel like I'm going insane lol even I'm getting itchy lol jk
 

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Just thought of something, try sponging her with baking soda in the water. It certainly won't do her any harm. I don't know if you are aware but grass under the snow is full of mold spores. Every time there's a mild spell these spores are released from the grass. One winter we had a fast thaw and I was amazed to see millions of what appeared to be ultra fine spider webs. I think these are called spirolena, from the grass mold. They were wet and sparking in the sunshine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So my little girl is off her dex finally and was wormed Tuesday and got her spring shots today. One thing that seems to be providing some mild relief for her skin is vetorolin lenament wash (I really don't know why) and I've ordered her some antihistamines and she's on Focus HS for a zinc supplement. If these antihistamines don't work it's going to be allergy shots for her :(

She will hopefully get her teeth done next week too although that wouldn't be causing hives.

I might have to opt for allergy shots anyways if the antihistamines give her anhidrosis.

So does anyone know much about allergy shots, will she have to be on them indefinitely?
 
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