Monday, July 22, 2019

Allergic to Life

Back in April Cinder broke out in hives. They came and went for a few weeks before finally deciding to stay. We did a round of steroids and switched bedding because my vet thought it was something coming in contact with her.  We tried three different types of bedding and nothing worked.  We did more steroids because the hives came back worse and she lost a lot of hair on her hind legs and face. Right before we moved barns for the summer we took a blood sample to send in for allergy testing.

She can finally be cross tied while getting hosed off!!

The first week we were at A's was Cinder's last on steroids. I was slightly concerned moving her would shock her system but my vet thought moving was a good idea.  The other barn, GS, is in a different micro-climate and much wetter than A's. Vet thought the (relatively) drier climate would be good for her.  And since we've moved Cinder's hives have gone away. 

First page of allergens. The ones with the * are what she's allergic to

Unfortunately the lab lost Cinder's blood sample so we had to take a second one and send it in again. It took about 10 days from when we sent the sample to when we got the results back.  The lab emailed my vet who forwarded them onto me and called me later that day to discuss. The first thing he said was "She's allergic to life". Not what you want to hear, let me tell you.

Basically there's a lot she's allergic to and it was probably a combination of things that caused the hives. There was a third page of allergens for insects and molds that I forgot to take a pic of and she's allergic to some of them as well.  Some of the things she's allergic to we don't have here in the PNW, such as sycamore and hickory trees, and fire ants (thank god!). But we have elm and oak (which are in the pasture she's living in) and deer flies, plus the molds.  There's also a fair amount of timothy hay that's fed around here so I need to be aware of what's in her grass hay.

This one really sucks
The biggest issues are going to be the food items.  The grain she's on has timothy and rice bran in it.  Her vitamin/mineral supplement has corn and rice bran. The treats I have right now have corn and carrots.  Luckily my vet said that he's seen the carrot and apple allergy before and in his experience the test for it is not that accurate.  He said she can still have the occasional apple or carrot, just not a lot of them at once. And she can stay on her vitamin mix. The amount of corn and rice bran in it is so small, and since it's cooked in a pellet form, most of the allergens have been cooked out. Which is great because do you know how many supplements use corn, rice bran, or soy as carriers? I was driving myself nuts looking at ingredient labels.

I'm still trying to figure out what grain I want to switch her to. I'm going to the feed store later today to see what's available, but I'm leaning towards just alfalfa pellets.  Her current grain is a limited ingredient, mostly alfalfa and timothy hay based feed and I'd like to keep her on something similar.

For now we're going to changer her feed, keep her in a fly sheet and mask all the time, and wait and see how she does.  We can do allergy shots for most of the things she's allergic to, but that's $$$ and doesn't have the best success rate. Since she's doing much better at A's barn I'm really hoping I can keep her here this winter and not have to move her back to GS. Finger's crossed we can make that work and her hives stay away!


  1. That's a lot of stuff to be allergic too. Sorry about that. Levi gets a bunch of generic Benadryl every day and that really helps him. I buy it in bulk from Costco. He shouldn't have Soy either and it's annoying how it's in everything. Luckily, he can have small amount without a huge reaction, but it has been interesting trying to manage him.

    1. Benadryl works great, but it does test if you go to a rated show. Which you probably already know. But just in case you didn't!

  2. These panels often look worse than they really are. We did this for Badger too (he is also allergic to timothy!) and really we didn't have to change everything. He didn't get hivey, but was SUPER itchy. Like to the point he was breaking fences and moving horse show stalls. Once we eliminated the timothy hay, he was much happier. Sounds like just the change in the environment has worked so far, and now you know what to look out for, so that should help!
    Good luck!

  3. Her blood panel looks like my blood panel so I feel her pain!