Your Guide to Equine Health Care

Understanding Insect Bite Hypersensitivity in Horses

Learn about this difficult-to-manage allergic reaction to the saliva of biting insects in our visual guide!

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Understanding Insect Bite Hypersensitivity

Insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH) is an itchy and hard-to-manage allergic reaction to the saliva of biting insects. The bites elicit an allergic response in sensitive horses, resulting in hives (urticaria) and/or crusty patches of bumps. Insect bite hypersensitivity typically improves and worsens seasonally.

What can you do to manage it?

While IBH has no cure, your veterinarian might treat acute cases using antihistamines and/or corticosteroids. Topical ointments containing these drugs might also offer your horse relief, as can cool-water rinses and shampoos to remove allergens. It’s best to manage affected horses using a variety of approaches.


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The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care is an equine publication providing the latest news and information on the health, care, welfare, and management of all equids.

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