Dermatological - skin These cases are generally divided into horses with atopic dermatitis or insect bite hypersensitivity.
As noted by Jensen-Jarolim et al. (2015):
Atopic dermatitis in equines is becoming a more commonly recognised disease. It is interpreted in horses as an inherited predisposition to form specific antibodies to environmental allergens such as pollens of grasses, weeds, trees, but also to mould and dust.
Insect bite hypersensitivity is a term used to describe the condition induced by an overreaction to biting insects. The most common example is sweet itch, where the irritation is believed to be caused by the saliva of the genus Culicoides (midges) and can lead to secondary infection and severe discomfort compromising the horse’s welfare at times.
Interestingly, the clinical signs for atopic dermatitis can be similar to those caused by insect bite hypersensitivity and it is has been recently noted that it is extremely common for horses to have both diseases.
It is also worth bearing in mind that adverse food reactions are in many cases also expressed as a skin issue. This is where there is an immune mediated hypersensitivity, or intolerance to a food constituent.
Clinical signs to look out for include:
- Pruritus (itchy skin)
- Urticaria (also known as hives)
- Alopecia (patchy hair loss)