My horse suffers from severe allergies. She was covered with hives/edema from April through October last year. She was tested and is being given serum to, hopefully, desensitize her to the over 2 dozen airborne, insect, etc. allergies she has. Are there any vitamins, minerals, supplements, OTC anti-inflammatories, etc. I could try giving her to offer some relief in addition? — Thank you, Marianna
How unfortunate for you and your horse! In addition to the hyposensitization injections that you’ve already started, there are a number of nutrients that may support your mare. Before you add any of them to her regimen though, be sure and speak with your veterinarian first. You wouldn’t want to derail her progress by inadvertently adding something that she’s allergic to!
The first nutrient that comes to mind is omega 3 fatty acids. There is quite a bit of research that shows adding this to the diet of horses improves the health and function of skin, especially in the case of allergies. You have the choice of plant-based omega 3s from a source like flax seed or marine-based omega 3s from a source like fish oil.
There are also several studies that recommend MSM as an anti-inflammatory, particularly for skin and respiratory conditions. MSM is well-known as an ingredient in many joint supplements because of its ability to reduce inflammation, but it also specifically targets tissues that line the respiratory tract and that make up skin.
I usually don’t specifically recommend products in this column, but I feel strongly that any horse with an allergic (overactive immune system) condition can benefit from the adaptogenic herbs in APF. These herbs have the ability to dial the immune and other systems back to normal, whether they’re too low or too high, which is the case with your horse.
Finally, make sure your mare is getting a complete and balanced diet, meeting or slightly exceeding the NRC requirements for protein, vitamins and minerals. Sometimes horses with chronic conditions are deficient in a key nutrient that makes all the difference in correct functioning of bodily systems. Just check the ingredient statement of any product you choose to see if it contains any of her known allergens first. We don’t want to make her any worse than she already is! I hope this year is better for you both.