Can You Be Allergic to Horses? What You Need to Know


How common is horse allergy?

Horse allergies are more common than you might think. If you have horse allergies, you’re likely allergic to the dander or saliva of horses. Your immune system will respond to these substances as if they were a threat, causing your allergy symptoms.

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Horses can be found all over the country, though they’re not quite as common as dogs and cats. However, if you’re ever around horses or in areas where horses are more prevalent, you might have noticed your allergies acting up. You may be surprised to learn that it’s not especially rare to be allergic to horses. So how do you know if horses are the cause of your allergies? What are the symptoms and treatments? Read on to find out.

What Is a Horse Allergy?

When people think of pet allergies, horses probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind. But horse allergies are very real, and they happen in a similar way to dog and cat allergies.

Your body will usually have an allergic response to horse saliva or dander, causing a variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe.

What Are the Causes?

Typically, horse allergies will be brought on by direct exposure to horses. With that being said, horse dander can travel on the wind for hundreds of yards. This means that even if you’re not in the direct vicinity of a horse, you could still have an allergic reaction.

A certain protein found in horse dander and saliva can cause an immune response from your body. The allergens that cause horse allergies have also been found to be cross-reactive with dog and cat allergens. This means that you may be predisposed to horse allergies if you’re already allergic to other pets.

What Are the Symptoms?

Observing certain symptoms will help you find out if you have a horse allergy. Your symptoms will likely occur while interacting with a horse or shortly after you’ve been around horses. If someone you’re around has been near horses, that could cause symptoms as well. Horse dander can stick to skin and clothing, so if it’s around you, it can trigger a response.

Here are some common horse allergy symptoms:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Asthma symptoms

These are horse allergy symptoms that are common and generally milder. It’s important to keep an eye out for anaphylactic reactions, which can be life-threatening.

Understanding Anaphylaxis

Horse allergies are more likely to cause anaphylaxis than other pet allergies, so it’s important to be aware and seek medical help if any signs of an anaphylactic reaction are present. With that being said, these reactions are still rare, and most people won’t experience them.

If anaphylaxis does occur, seek emergency medical attention. These are the symptoms to look out for:

  • Swollen throat, tongue, or face
  • Hives
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Wheezing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weak and fast pulse

A severe allergic reaction should never be taken lightly. Call 911 immediately if you observe an anaphylactic reaction.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A horse allergy can be diagnosed through an allergy test. Once you recognize that you have a horse allergy, you can take specific measures to treat it. With Wyndly testing is easy and convenient. Get an at-home allergy test to determine your allergy profile, and learn if a horse allergy is causing your symptoms.

An easy way to treat a horse allergy is to avoid horses and horse stables. But if you work with horses regularly or live near horse stables, this isn’t always an option.

These are some treatments you can try:

  • Antihistamines: The most common over-the-counter (OTC) method for allergy management is antihistamines. Antihistamines block the production of histamine, preventing allergic reactions. Keep in mind that antihistamines just manage your symptoms; they don’t fix your allergy.
  • Nasal spray: Another OTC option is a nasal spray. If congestion or runny nose is your biggest irritant, a nasal spray can help relieve inflammation in the nasal passages.
  • Eye drops: If itchy and watery eyes are your primary symptom, these can help clear the allergen from in and around your eyes.
  • Inhaler: Some people have asthma-like reactions to their horse allergies. An inhaler uses medicine to help these people breathe and open up their airways.
  • EpiPen: If horse allergies induce anaphylaxis in a person, they will need to carry an EpiPen with them. Injecting an EpiPen into the thigh can curb the anaphylactic reaction and save someone’s life while they wait for medical attention.

These are some lifestyle changes you can make if you’re often around horses but have a horse allergy:

  • Wash clothing often, and change immediately after handling a horse.
  • Shower and wash your hair immediately after handling a horse.
  • Have others groom horses if possible. If you have to groom a horse, make sure to do it outside and wear a dust mask.
  • Take your medications before interacting with horses.

These treatments are all meant to manage symptoms; they won’t be a long-term fix for your allergies. For that, you’ll want to try immunotherapy. More on that below.

How to Get Tested for a Horse Allergy

A horse allergy isn’t always easy to identify. Since you interact with horses outside, you may mistake pollen allergies for a horse allergy. Or if you have other pets, you may be allergic to their dander and not the horse dander. The best way you can eliminate uncertainty is with an allergy test.

Typically, this would take place at a doctor’s office. You’d likely have to do an uncomfortable skin prick test or a blood draw. Wyndly offers a more convenient and comfortable alternative. With Wyndly’s at-home allergy test kit, you can find the cause of your allergies right from the comfort of your own home. We send you your kit, and then you just do a simple finger prick before sending it back to us. That’s all it takes. Get an at-home allergy test today!

Try Sublingual Immunotherapy if You’re Allergic to Horses

If your test reveals you are allergic to horses, or other environmental allergies, we’ll develop a personalized treatment plan for you that retrains your immune system and fixes your allergies. We do this by sending you allergy drops. Allergy drops are a form of immunotherapy called sublingual immunotherapy. What immunotherapy does is teach your body to adapt to your allergens by exposing it to small, gradually increasing doses of the substance.

Unlike allergy shots, which are another form of immunotherapy, allergy drops don’t require a painful needle or a trip to the doctor. We send your drops right to your door, and they are easy to take. Just administer them under the tongue. Immunotherapy can lead to lifelong allergy relief.

Beat Your Pet Allergies Now

Pet allergies can be difficult to deal with when you love your animals. Instead of just managing your symptoms, Wyndly will help you find long-term relief so your body can adapt to your beloved dogs, cats, and horses.

With our allergy relief care, there are no more doctor visits, frustration, and hidden fees. At Wyndly, a dedicated doctor will create a personalized treatment plan for you that will help you live better, without allergies.

Take our quick online assessment today to get one step closer to fixing your allergies for good!

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