Advice please - allergy testing a horse?

Shilasdair

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Hi all, I need some advice from you!
My 3yo youngster seems to have a strange allergy to midge bites...her skin comes up in either round lumps, or raised, hard halos perhaps 1 - 3 inches in diameter. The skin itself is unbroken, without any bald patches, and she doesn't find them itchy so never scratches them.
A vet saw her in the spring, told me they were 'scar tissue which would never disappear' but in fact they rise and fall within hours, and she can be completely clear of them. She gave me steroid pills to treat the symptoms, if I wanted to use them (I didn't).
I have heard that horses can be allergy tested, and immunised, and wondered if anyone could give me more info on this - or just your thoughts?
I have the vet coming this afternoon....
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BigRed

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Last September my horse went to Liphook Horse Hospital for Allergy testing. I knew she had sweet itch although it's not typical sweet itch, but she also gets swellings around her muzzle. My insurance paid for this.

She stayed overnight and they clipped her neck and tested her for about 70 allergens.

At the end of the process, which cost £700. They told me she was allergic to basically all flying insects and mildly to cows !

I asked about the immunisation and the vet told me "it was a very crude vaccination, basically made from crushed flies" (his exact words) and if it was his horse he would buy a boett rug, or keep her stabled.

The whole thing was a waste of time and money. I already knew she was allergic to fly bites and had been led to believe that a series of jabs would help her, but then the specialist vet told me a different story to my own vet.

So I would question the vet at the hospital before you go further.
 

Shilasdair

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[ QUOTE ]
Last September my horse went to Liphook Horse Hospital for Allergy testing. I knew she had sweet itch although it's not typical sweet itch, but she also gets swellings around her muzzle. My insurance paid for this.

She stayed overnight and they clipped her neck and tested her for about 70 allergens.

At the end of the process, which cost £700. They told me she was allergic to basically all flying insects and mildly to cows !

I asked about the immunisation and the vet told me "it was a very crude vaccination, basically made from crushed flies" (his exact words) and if it was his horse he would buy a boett rug, or keep her stabled.

The whole thing was a waste of time and money. I already knew she was allergic to fly bites and had been led to believe that a series of jabs would help her, but then the specialist vet told me a different story to my own vet.

So I would question the vet at the hospital before you go further.

[/ QUOTE ]

Thanks, but I thought there had been a very successful sweet itch vaccine which substantially improved a lot of sweet itch sufferers?
She already has a sweet itch hoody...
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Pidge

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Are you sure they are midge bites and not something else? Higgs used to look the elephant man as he got bit really nasty by something and each bite came up in large lumps exactly like you describe, no broken skin, nor itchy. Had vet out and he said it was some sort of insect sorry can't remember what, and prescribed some hayfever tablets, lots of!, to help with it. Only lasted about a week from memory so was obvously down to a particular insect biting him.
 

BigRed

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I had read plenty about the successful sweetitch vaccine and thats why my vert sent me there. The specialist vet at Liphook thinks the vaccine is a waste of time and money.

So what do you do ? If you pay a vet for his advice and he tells you the product is no good, do you go ahead and try it ?
 

Shilasdair

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Pidge - I am not an entymologist sp don't know the ID of the little swine involved
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...they seem to be the midge-like things that breed in the muddy puddles in my field, as her lumpiness is directly related to the midgey times.
Tracey01 - I don't know what to do, as I have heard conflicting advice about the tests and the vaccinations...
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Pidge

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hmm if they are not causing any problems can you not just whack some aloe vera gel on to help soothe them for her? cheaper than allergy testing perhaps?
 

Shilasdair

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[ QUOTE ]
hmm if they are not causing any problems can you not just whack some aloe vera gel on to help soothe them for her? cheaper than allergy testing perhaps?

[/ QUOTE ]

She doesn't seem bothered by them superficially. I worry that they make her feel 'off colour' if you see what I mean?
I use itch stop, Autan, and spray to try to reduce and relieve the bites...but she doesn't scratch them and isn't itchy.
If there were something I could buy/do for her, I would...
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Shilasdair

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[ QUOTE ]
What about feeding her some garlic???? Also Cider Vinegar in the water is meant to be good. These are obviously prevenion rather than cure!

[/ QUOTE ]

Thanks, CR
I will try cider vinegar in water - how much?
I can't do the garlic one, as it repels Shilasdairs too.
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rocketdog69

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Hi there

Two things

Firstly my horses over the past 2 weeks have come up with similar sounding lumps to yours lumps as they did last year. At the time we put it down to a particularly nasty type of fly. The lumps as you say didnt stay so at the moment a couple of my boys are a bit lumpy but I'm not too worried.

Secondly allergy testing.

My andalusian has sweet-itch but I had him allergy tested. My vet came, took a blood sample and sent if off to I think Greenbank Laboratory near Guildford in Surrey. As it turned out he was allegic to allsorts nettles, wheat you name it he was allergic to it.

The lab makes up these little vials and the horse has to be injected at various intervals eventually building up an immunity.

It could be worth giving it a go although there is a small minority it doesnt work for and my boy was one of them. Insurance should pay!!

Good luck
 

Pidge

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Yes I know what you mean - when I've been bit by a asty insect it's itchy so I put aloe vera on it and it instantly soothes it. might be worth asking your vet about hayfever tablets perhaps?
 

rocketdog69

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Hi there

It goes from tiny amounts at 3/4 day intervals to larger amounts at one monthly intervals.

It sounds awful, I was horrified at first when I was told I'd have to stick needles in my precious horse but once I'd started it just became routine. Horse didn't mind

Admittedly its not cheap, I thinbk for the first year it was around £400 but my insurance paid for it. The initial cost is the worst, the maintenance doses are much easier on the pocket.

Although it didnt work for my boy, it really is worth a go.

This year so far I have gone through 7 or 8 fly rugs , more potions than Boots stock on their shelves but to no avail.

Keeping him in at critical times of the day doesnt work either as the misdges are still flying round at 9.30 at night and 5 in the morning and the stuff he is allergic to is all around any paddock!!!!

Hope this helps

Good luck.
 

appylass

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I'm not sure if this will be any help at all but I have a very itchy pony, he doesn't have sweetitch but has come up in lumps from fly bites in the past. A couple of years ago I started giving him Superskratch made by Global Herbs and it has made a huge difference, mainly, I think, because flies seem to find him less attractive now. There is a noticeable difference in the amount of flies landing on him compared to others in the field and he has stopped rubbing himself on everything in sight. I ran out of it a few weeks ago and within a week he was back to scratching himself, he's back on it now and all is fine again. I thought I would mention it as I was a complete sceptic until I tried the stuff, wouldn't be without it now.
 

Shilasdair

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Thanks everyone.
Vet has diagnosed it as erythema multiforme (sp?) so nothing to be done, but won't bother her, so I've been advised to ignore it.
On the plus side, he said it was quite rare - he had seen about six, I think, cases in his 20 odd years of practice.
I always knew she was 'special'.
I have promised to send him a good photo of her interesting skin patterns.
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YorksG

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We have been feeding marmite on a slice of homemade bread this summer, it does indeed seem to repel midges. It may be worth a two week trial and see if it works for your girl?
 
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