We usually think of allergy symptoms as a runny nose or a cough but horses can also have a horrible itch that occurs with sweet itch, which is the allergy to culicoides gnats.
Some allergy symptoms as not so obvious like a horse with food allergies or a sensitivity to a specific food will experience a chronic inflammation in the intestinal lining and this in turn can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, colic, hives, loss of appetite,weight loss, girthiness, difficulty collecting under saddle, standing with the back legs camped out behind and lack of stamina.
If you have a horse with one or more of these symptoms, you can get your vet to do a simple test by Bio-Medical Services Lab and their website is www.bmslab.com
This test can help you figure out which specific foods your horse is allergic to. Some of these foods may include; wheat, molasses, flax, apples, soybeans, oats, barley, corn and beets. Horses that have a positive test to a single food could have a true allergy to the food unless it is the only one on the list that they have ever been given.
Horses that have a positive test to multiple foods could be dealing with food sensitivities that are caused by the incomplete digestion of food before the food is absorbed into the bloodstream. They can`t digest the food because of unhealthy bacteria in their gut.
The horse`s body interprets these larger protein molecules as a foreign invader and therefore triggers an immune response locally or systematically. Now the body is ‘allergic’ to any foods that have these kinds of proteins. Once tested, you should remove the food they are allergic to for at least 6 months to let the horse`s belly heal.
You can speed the process by giving Probiotics, Slippery elm and SUCCEED. Slippery elm soothes the digestive tract, SUCCEED nourishes and protects the digestive tract and Probiotics help rebuild the healthy mucous lining of the intestines. For more info, you can visit: www.holistichorsekeeping.com
Image source en.wikipedia.org used with permission