Allergies in the horse - a status report

Did you know?.....

...   that for almost 10 years now horses can be tested for allergies. Thousands of animals have been diagnosed and treated. This fact stands for knowledge, competence and experience.
We have published several reports and various information regarding allergies in horses and the treatment. 
...   which the major allergens are?

 Examples  Incidence of
 positive reactions
 Grasses Orchard grass  34 %   April - June, in hay all year
  Timothy grass    7 % June - August, in hay all year
  Rye grass  15 % May - August, in hay all year
  Mugwort      9 % June - October, in hay all year
  Lambs Quarter     7 % May - October, in hay all year
  English plantain  20 % May - September, in hay all year
  Sheep sorrel  22 % May - September, in hay all year
 Trees  Birch    6 % February - May 
  Hazel     7 % February - May 
  Beech  17 % March - May 
 Moulds  Alternaria  14 % hay, straw, grains 
  Aspergillus    2 % hay (damp) 
  Cladosporum    3 % hay, straw, grains
  Helmintosporum    2 % grass, moist soil 
  Penicillium    4 % hay (damp), grains 
  Fusarium    3 % hay, straw, grains 
  Ustilago    3 % grains 
  Rhizopus  10 % humus soil, compost, manure 
 Mites Acarus   28 % grains, pellets, flours ( storage mite)
  Derm.f./Derm.p.  36 %

 blankets, stable (dust mites) 

  Glycophgus/ Thyrophagus  28 %  hay, grains ( hay mite, storage mite )

...   that most moulds and pollens are present all year around. A distinction between seasonal and perennial allergens is almost impossible to make.

The mould spore concentration depends on the moisture level. Thus increased mould spore concentrations are found in damp hay, in stables and outside following rain falls.

...   that about 72 % of animals suspected of having an allergy are tested positive in an allergy test.
...   that one of the major causes of allergies in horses are mites.
...   that about 43% of animals suspected of suffering from "summer itch" are tested positive in an
      allergy test.
...   that the specific immunotherapy (SIT), formerly called hyposensitization, is applied as a therapy
      for allergies in veterinary medicine for more than 40 years.
...   that the incidence of adverse reactions to the SIT in horses is less than 1%.
...   that the SIT aims to stimulate the immune system in producing blocking IgG antibodies and
      suppressor Th1 cells. Therefor the SIT causally attacks the pathophysiological mechanisms
      of the allergic disease.
...   in the horse the success of the SIT clearly depends on the duration of the illness. 

   Summer Itch  duration  1 - 2 years83 %success 
 duration  3 - 5 years77 %  success
 duration  > 5 years< 25 %success
   COPD              duration    1-3 years 79 %success
 duration  4-5 years33 %success 
 duration  >5 years    < 10% success 



the earlier you start to treat with the SIT after diagnosing the allergy the better 
the chances are for a successful therapy.

...   that you can see the success of the SIT treatment in horses showing symptoms for less than
      three years in 44 % of animals with COPD and in 65 % of the animals suffering from
      summer itch within the first 3-4 months. 
...   that the success of the therapy is independent on whether only 1 or 6 allergens are included
      in the treatmen.
...   that the greatest success of the therapy is obtained in animals 2-8 years of age. 

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