Ask the Vet – Pressure hives in horses


SARAH: “My horse has
very sensitive skin. Like, so sensitive, that
if I use too much pressure with a curry comb, he
looks like he has hives. He never flinches or
shows any discomfort–” oh, what a sweetheart– “when being groomed and the
bumps don’t seem to bother him, but they last for
30 to 40 minutes. Is there anything I
can do to help him?” DR LYDIA GRAY: So
unfortunately, I think there’s more
going on here than just a horse with sensitive skin. SARAH: OK. DR LYDIA GRAY: I think– and
this is definitely something she’ll want to contact
her veterinarian about– I even have a plan
for her at the end– I think your horse
might have something called “pressure hives.” Pressure urticaria
is the fancy word if you want to get really fancy. SARAH: You know how Nels
likes those fancy words to put on the screen. DR LYDIA GRAY: This one I
hope fits on the screen, it’s a really long one. Dermatographism. SARAH: Wow. DR LYDIA GRAY: The shortened
version is “dermographism.” They both work. They just mean that your
horse does develop hives. I think she’s really seeing
hives due to pressure. You think of hives as sort
of an allergic response. SARAH: Just physical pressure? DR LYDIA GRAY: Just
physical pressure, yeah. Hives can actually
occur not just from insect bites or something
you ate or medications, but pressure, temperature, heat
and cold, sunlight, stress– there’s all sorts
of weird things you wouldn’t expect
can cause hives. Now what I think
she should do is– it sounds like this
is very reproducible. So don’t touch your horse. Call the vet, schedule a visit. Have the vet come out and look
at the horse like pre-brushing. SARAH: Normal. DR LYDIA GRAY: Normal, right. And then do what she normally
does, brush the horse and let the vet see these
hives or wheals appear and let the vet
inspect him then, and I think that will
bring them to a diagnosis. Now, once you have
the diagnosis, then it’s time for treatment. I think I used– unfortunately
I’ve already gone and used it again, unfortunately. Because this is such an
abnormal, uncommon condition, there’s not a lot– like, we don’t know
exactly why horses– or people get
this, too– get it, and so we don’t know
what works to treat it. Antihistamines seem to
have some positive results in some cases in people. That might be where
the vet starts. There’s always steroids, but
it’s not something we usually think of with allergic hives. You can remove the stimulus. You can’t not brush your
horse or not put tack on, so this is a bit of a– this is going to be a
challenge for you guys, but the first step I think is
diagnosis and having your vet actually see the same
thing that she described. SARAH: Yeah. OK, well good luck, Lyndsey. Let us know how it goes.


2 Responses

  1. Sara M

    May 17, 2018 2:31 pm

    #askthevetvideo Is there a certain cut (harvest) of hay that better than the other? (Have better fiber/protein content). Many people look for 2nd or 3rd cut and some people avoid the first cut like the black plague, I do know first cut has more weeds but if you spray your field, is it that really big of an issue?


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