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Allergies


I have very mild springtime allergies.  Tree pollen makes my nose drip and my eyes itch.  Our oldest Welsh pony, Eclipse, however, has terrible allergies.  He was on anti-itch medication for years before we finally hauled him up to Texas A&M Vet School to be allergy tested.   Allergy test for horses are pretty much exactly the same as for dogs or people.  They shaved a portion of his shoulder and inoculated Eclipse with 75 different potential allergens and noted his reactions at 1 minute, 10 minutes and up to 24 hours.  The biggest difference between having one's horse tested and one's dog or one's self is the cost.  Eclipse's 36 hour stay at A&M cost us only $400.  My niece had her dog tested and that cost her something over $1200.  I have no idea what it costs to have a person tested but I'm sure it would cost even more than that.

Eclipse tested positive for 27 of the 75 allergens he was tested for.  Poor baby!  He is allergic to Hickory, Pecan and Live Oak pollen, Bahia, Quack and Rye grass, Salt Grass, Cocklebur, Dock/Sorrel mix, Rough Marsh Elder, Russian Thistle, Sage, Western Ragweed, Mucor, Cat Epithelium, Alfalfa, Corn Smut, Grain Smut mix, Cultivated Wheat, Oat and Corn pollen, Grass smut, Black Ant, American Cockroach, Deer Fly, Mosquito and Mesquite.  Of all of these allergens, he is 4+++ allergic to Alfalfa.  We did not routinely give alfalfa to our horses but we did usually have alfalfa cubes and used them as treats when the horses got of heavy workout.  Perhaps the worst of all possible treats for this pony.

Eclipse is allergic to so many things that they couldn't fit all the allergenic extracts into one mixture.  He has two bottles of extract and so gets two shots every 3 weeks.  In the worst of the springtime pollen, he may need some anti-itch support but the allergy shots keep him comfortable and with a full mane and tail - both of which he tries hard to rub off when he has an allergic reaction.  Somehow my occasional itchy eyes just don't seem important at all.