Types of bedding for horses with allergies
Horses get allergies just like humans. It’s often difficult to figure out what they’re allergic to and whether their symptoms suggest an allergic reaction or other equine disease conditions. Equine allergies can take months or even years to fully develop. Some allergies are minor, while others can be life-threatening allergies that can cause problems with the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
Horses are surrounded by pollen, dust, mold spores and other allergens in the barn and their pasture every day. Usually horses with a healthy immune system can fight off allergens without an allergic reaction, but not always. Certain foods, feeds, grains, bedding, hay, nutrition supplements and insect bites can also trigger allergic reactions.
Symptoms can include:
- Coughing or wheezing
- Reduced energy, or acting lethargic
- Nasal discharge
- Watery eyes
- Skin bumps – hives
- Itchy skin
Some types of bedding tend to trigger horse allergies, especially those that consistently occur in the stable. One of the first steps is to change your horses’ bedding. Shredded paper, wood pellets, moist peat moss or wood shavings are good options for horses with allergies.
If the problem persists, use rubber mats for the floor of the stall and put a reduced amount of bedding on top of the mat until you figure out which bedding works for your horse. Then increase the bedding as needed. Rubber mats aren’t meant to be a substitute for bedding, just to help reduce the amount of bedding and provide warmer, more comfortable flooring for your horse.
A well ventilated stable has fewer allergens than a stable without enough windows, fans and large sliding barn doors for cross ventilation. Sometimes all a horse needs is longer turn out in a paddock or pasture and less time inside to get rid of its allergies. However, it’s always a good idea to call your vet and get their opinion.