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[RC] Allergies, etc. - k s swigart

Mel writes:

She has done endurance competition. She did a 50, a few 25s
and some NATRC. She even got a BC. She has been eating all
the substances I have been talking about for years but has been
showing symptoms of itchiness, watery runny eyes and in the
summer little bare patches. She has never had an anaphylactic
reaction to anything she has eaten.

Okay, here's the thing about allergies.  Usually, with each exposure the
the substance causing the allergic reaction, the reaction becomes worse;
so, just because she has never had an anaphylactic reaction to anything
she has eaten doesn't mean she won't.  And itchiness and watery runny
eyes are a couple of the early stages of anaphylaxis (it is just that in
true emergency anaphylactic reactions those stages are gone through VERY
quickly :))

As I said in my previous post she is on hyposensitivity treatments
as prescribed by my vet and Spectrum labs. This is NOT a drug
like sudafed. It is a serum of the stuff she allergic too...given to
build an immunity. www.vetallergy.com In fact, at the last ride a
ride vet said "you should give your horse allergy shots."

I went to the site that she provided (and despite the fact that I
consider much of the information provided suspect considering what I
know about my own allergies and would look for corraborating information
elsewhere...which Mel is) and one of the things that it says is:

Since horses cannot be hyposensitized to foods, elimination is the
only form of treatment in the case of food allergies. Should your
horse test positive to foods, your veterinarian will recommend the
proper diet based on the blood test and your horses medical history.

So, by the site's own treatment recommendations, it says that their
shots aren't going to do a horse any good for its food allergies.  As a
consequence, (if the allergy tests are right, more on that below), then
this particular horse, because it appears to be allergic to virtually
everything that horse's normally eat, would fall into the category of
"picky eater" (not because it won't eat everything that is put in front
of it, but rather because it shouldn't).  And I have to agree with
Karen, _I_ wouldn't consider a horse that is this picky of an eater to
be a good candidate for endurance.  Especially if I were in Southern
California (which Mel is) since most of the grass that covers the
Southern California hillsides is oat grass, so if the horse does any
grazing along the trail its gonna be getting one of the foods it is
allergic to.

However, the site also says:

If it has an allergy to pollens, you might expect to see all or more
of the symptoms in the spring or summer. If, however, the horse
has a problem with molds or food related allergies, you are more
likely to see year-round symptoms.

And Mel says:

I was thinking the same thing EXCEPT that I've had problems
with bumps, watery eyes, scratching herself bloody in the chest
from March to Nov.

Which, if the allergy site is to be believe suggests that it is not food
that she is allergic to since in food related allergies "you are more
likely to see year-round symptoms."

One of the things that I would consider with this horse (considering the
time frame) is the possibility that this horse might be PHOTOsensitive
(i.e. she is reacting to the sunlight) or that sunlight exacerbates her
reaction to some of the things in her environment.  But if this is the
case, the way to manage it is to have the horse spend more time indoors.

All that said, if I had a horse that was this allergic to what appears
to be normal in most horse's lives, I would concentrate on figuring out
how to manage these allergies and wouldn't be trying to do endurance
rides on the horse at the same time, so the question of whether the
shots are legal with the AERC is irrelevant.

That question can be asked after figuring out how to manage it....if it
even can be managed.

Orange County, Calif.

The whole ride experience can be very hard, and at times you question why
you put yourself through such abuse. But then you remember all those
moments when you pop up over a hill and are suddenly surrounded by the most
stunning views.  It's just you and your horse and for a moment time stops
and you can hear the angels sing.  Therein lies the addiction, at least for
~  Leslie Beyers

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