A tickle on the nose, snot, coughing and even shaking the head… sometimes your horse suddenly gets problems with his airways. And riding a horse with a tickle in the nose or mucus in its throat is not pleasant. But where does this come from? Is it a pollen allergy? Or is it due to dust? And what can you do about it?
We list the 5 differences between pollen allergy and dust allergy in horses:
Difference 1 – Summer or Winter?
If your horse sniffles, coughs, throws his head or keeps on tickling his nose, the first question is: what season is it? In autumn and winter, when horses are indoors more often, a dust allergy is more likely. But in the spring and summer, when the trees and grass are in bloom, you should think more of a pollen allergy if your horse suddenly develops complaints.
Difference 2 – hay or grass?
Does your horse mainly eat hay or mainly fresh grass? If your horse mainly eats hay and develops respiratory complaints, dust and mold are the obvious suspects. Does your horse stand with his nose down in a green pasture all day? Then it is more likely that you are dealing with a pollen allergy.
Difference 3 – outside or inside?
When are your horse's symptoms worst? If you just got him out of the stable? Could it be a dust allergy? Or do you see the most complaints if your horse has just been out in the meadow all day or has been out for a ride? Then a pollen allergy is more likely.
Difference 4 – nose or throat?
Although you can see both coughing and nasal discharge in both conditions, it is often a sign of dust allergy if your horse is coughing a lot and breathing heavily. If, on the other hand, your horse always has a wet nose and also wants to wipe that nose on all kinds of objects or comes to tickle you, then you are more likely to think of pollen.
Difference 5 – headshaking or coughing
You can also suffer from both a dust allergy and a pollen allergy when riding. Horses that suffer from dust cough more often when riding, especially when warming up. Sometimes this gets better when you've ridden longer. Horses with a pollen allergy sometimes shake their heads while riding. They do that because their noses tickle. This phenomenon often gets worse the longer you ride. Sometimes it is even impossible to continue riding.
A pollen allergy in horses is therefore mainly seen in spring and summer, when grazing and riding outdoors, and is mainly characterized by nose complaints and headshaking. It is an allergic reaction to the pollen of certain grasses, herbs and trees. A form of hay fever actually. You can help a horse with a pollen allergy by ensuring a good resistance. Cannabinoids can help with this and also fight the small inflammations in the airways. Give your horse less grazing if he has many complaints and let him in a little more often on days when there is a lot of pollen in the air. It is best to take a ride outside after it has just rained, then the pollen has temporarily precipitated. An herbal extract for the respiratory tract can have a soothing effect. There are also natural drops that dampen the allergic reaction.
A dust allergy in horses is mainly encountered in the autumn and winter, or in horses that are often in the stable. The complaints are caused by dust and fungi in the straw and hay. These horses often cough and breathe audibly. You also regularly see that the nostrils are wide open. It is better to put a horse with a dust allergy outside a little more. In addition, you must ensure a clean stable with plenty of ventilation. Do not leave your horse inside while cleaning and scattering the stable. Hay can be fed soaked. To combat the complaints, a herbal supplement especially for the respiratory tract is a good idea. This helps to keep the cilia in the airways healthy and to quickly clear the airways of irritants.