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Allergies in Horses

By Jessica-Lee Bessemer, Freelance Writer

It’s that time of year again; your nose is running, you’re sneezing, coughing and just miserable with your seasonal allergies. Just like us, horses experience allergies as well, and it can be the type of allergy that causes coughing and runny noses or the type of allergy that irritates the skin. [1]

The Symptoms

Horses can develop multiple types of symptoms when dealing with allergies. Some of the more common symptoms include tearing eyes, coughing, or raised bumps on the horse’s shoulders. Sometimes horses may act like they are not feeling well and in this case the horse owner must be attentive and understand when the horse is acting unusual.  The veterinarian can tell if a horse is suffering from equine allergies or another equine illness. [1]

Sometimes equine allergies can be tough to diagnose as they can take years to fully develop. Normally veterinarians will ask you to find out if the horse has a history of allergies before purchase. [1]

What Causes Equine Allergies?

Just like humans, a horse’s natural environment can cause allergies. They are exposed to dust, mold and different allergens all day long.  In pastures there are many different proteins that may cause allergies. Normally, horses with healthy immune systems fight off the allergic reaction, but this is not in every case.  Certain foods like hay or grain can also trigger an allergic reaction in horses as well as insect bites and nutritional supplements. [1]

While some allergies can be minor and seasonal, others may be more severe and life-threatening causing cardiovascular and respiratory problems. When a horse is experiencing respiratory problems due to allergies, the horse will often heave and cough consistently. They may experience problems with daily exercise and have a nasal discharge to accompany the allergy.  Often the pollen, dust and mold found in stables are the cause of the respiratory allergy. Taking the horse out of the stable is normally the first step in treatment.  It’s also important to change hay and bedding in their stall. Some horses with severe allergies sleep on mats to avoid the hay and/or bedding.  If the hay is the likely cause of heaving, soaking the hay in water can help to remove unwanted spores.  Some owners may need to take hay out of their horse’s diet if the allergy cannot be controlled. [1]

Skin allergies are amongst the most common type of equine allergy. They normally appear 12 to 24 hours after the horse is exposed to the allergen and appear in hives.  You will normally find them on the neck and shoulders, and some horses may experience a fever and itchiness in addition to the hives. Insect bites, such as mosquito or gnat bites can cause skin allergies to occur. [1]

Herbal Treatment

It’s always important to consult your veterinarian to diagnose your horse’s allergy, but here are some herbal treatments that can be helpful in treatment and prevention.

Mo Lung Powder & Allergy Blend:

Mo Lung Powder is a natural blend of Chinese herbs which may assist oxygen flow more freely to the lungs. When a horse is experiencing heaving or coughing, this can ease these symptoms and can make riding and exercise more tolerable. [2]

Allergy Blend promotes a stronger immune system. It may help coughing and improve the impurities in the blood. When used in conjunction with Mo Lung, this can be effective at controlling heaves and coughing. This can also help to control skin allergies and relieve itching. [3]


  1. “Horse Allergies, Symptoms, Causes and Treatments of an Equine Allergy,” http://www.horses-and-horse-information.com/articles/0395allergy.shtml
  2. “Mo Lung,” Hope Equine Products,” www.hopeequineproducts.com
  3. “Allergy Blend,” Hope Equine Products,” www.hopeequineproducts.com