BY INTERN KAITLYN YOURKOSKI
Summer is peak season for hives in horses due to the extremely humid weather. Hives can stem from many different sources such as diet, shavings, something your horse is physically coming incontact with, flies, or a substance being inhaled in their environment. There are plenty of different products on the market that are available to help your horse during this uncomfortable season.
1. Apple- Cider Vinegar Bath
This is the most simple and basic remedy of them all. Just go to your local supermarket, and find there the many different varieties of apple-cider vinegar. The process is easy. First give you horse a simple cold bath, and after apply watered down apple cider vinegar. The consistency should be around 25% vinegar and 75% water. Don’t rinse off the vinegar after. Just sweat scrap and put your horse in front of a fan to dry.
2. Omega- 3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 promotes healthy skin, and most importantly — reduces skin allergies. Fresh grass has a heavy amount of Omega- 3. Another way to incorporate Omega-3 into your horse’s diet is by flax seeds, chia seeds, or fish oils. Ask your vet, trainer, or barn manager if adding Omega-3s could be right for your horse.
3. Fly Sheet
Your horse may have a hyper sensitivity to bugs, causing its hives. They mainly come into contact with bugs while being turned out. Fly Sheets can be expensive, but companies such as Smartpak have a large variety of styles and prices. Another way to keep the flies from bothering your horse while in their stall is providing them with a fan to keep the air moving.
Dex is a steroid, and should only be used when needed. It is usually given to a horse by a vet or someone who is knowledgeable about a horse’s health and immune system. Dex should not be used in every case, and is best for a severe case of hives. If your horses hives are serious, ask your veterinarian about trying Dex.
5. All Natural Sprays and Grooming Products
If your horse has sensitive skin, check the ingredients in your fly spray and try leaning towards more natural products. The chemicals in some of the fly sprays may be causing the hives on your horse. Great all natural products for grooming include Sports Horse Essentials or Ecolicious.
6. Grain and Hay
Diet can be the underlying cause of many issues with horses. Sometimes changing feed can give horses hives. This is also extremely common when shaving brands change in the barn. It is not uncommon to develop hives for a few days after these changes. But, if they do not get used to the new food or shavings, talk to your vet or trainer about returning to the former products.
Usually hives only last for a couple days, so don’t stress out if your horse has hives! There are many simple solutions to make your horse feel comfortable. Hives are just another part of summer as an equestrian.