The summer months we’ve all been longing for are finally here, but they can bring a whole
new host of problems for our horses in the form of allergies.
Insect bites and pollens are the most common causes of allergies in horses. Pollens from
crops, flowers, grass and trees tend to show up through respiratory and skin symptoms. Fly
and insect allergies tend to be seen through skin and eye symptoms.
Here are some allergy symptoms to look out for along with some supplement and treatment
suggestions that may help.
Look out for any of the following changes to your horse’s skin:
Itching or scratching excessively
Hair loss or thinning coat
Dry, flaky, or scaly skin
Developing sores or skin infections due to constant scratching.
There are many options for treating skin and coat allergies. It could be worth trying soothing
shampoos, a good fly spray/cream, fly or sweet itch rug or a supplement. I love Equus
Health Itch Relief which is a great supplement for promoting healthy skin and coat.
After fighting the dust allergies of winter, we’re now faced with pollen allergies in summer!
Look and listen out for any of the following allergy symptoms:
Persistent coughing or wheezing
Excessive nasal discharge
Laboured breathing or shortness of breath
If you know your horse has a pollen allergy, try some of these suggestions:
Move water buckets away from trees or high pollen areas.
Soak/ dampen hay and feed.
Try not to ride when pollen levels are high.
Fly fringe/mask and fly/summer rugs can reduce the amount of pollen your horse comes into
Herbs can be great for pollen allergies and some people suggest feeding local honey.
Flies are a common culprit of watery eyes but there are other reasons such as uveitis. Keep
a lookout for any of these symptoms:
Watery or teary eyes
Redness or bloodshot appearance
Rubbing the eyes
Sensitivity to light
Fly control in the stable as well as fly masks or fly fringes for the field will help keep flies at
bay. If you’re looking for a supplement, the eyebright herb helps to suppress mucus
production around the eyes making it a good choice for horses suffering with seasonal
Herbs to Consider
If your horse has a pollen allergy here are some herbs that are traditionally used to help
alleviate symptoms. It’s recommended to start using them 3-4 weeks before the high pollen
Marshmallow leaves – soothes and protects respiratory tract.
Eyebright – helps inflamed eyes and blocked sinuses.
Garlic – being an expectorant it helps clear airways however, if horse your has itchy skin
people now tend to avoid garlic.
Aniseed – being an expectorant it will help clear airways.
Comfrey – known to soothe and ease.
Finding the cause of the allergy is half the battle!
Allergies can really impact your horse’s wellbeing and performance so recognising and
treating allergic reactions quickly can help alleviate any discomfort.
If you think your horse might have an allergy or is showing any symptoms I always
recommend talking to your vet.
If you’d like to discuss how, or which supplements could help, send me an email at