Are curly horses suitable for allergy sufferers?

Equ c 1 can be found everywhere: on the train, in the library, even in the school toilet, researchers have tracked small protein particles. In fact, Equ c 1 comes from the stable. The substance from the lipocalin group is the prime suspect when it comes to horse allergies and is found in dander, urine and horse dung. Stallions produce larger quantities than mares or nestlings. And the horse’s breed must play a role, too.

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Are curly horses suitable for allergy sufferers?

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What role does Lipokalin Equ c 1 play?

Equ c1 and colleagues extracted from horse sweat, saliva, and tear fluids cause runny noses, itchy eyes, annoying coughing, and shortness of breath in people with allergies. At worst, the ride becomes torture or simply impossible. Are hypoallergenic horses the solution to this problem?

Affected riders are convinced that American Curly Bashkirs are better tolerated and that allergy symptoms are less common. In fact, two empirical studies seem to support this thesis.

But do people with curly hair produce fewer allergens than other horses? Does your skin’s own lipid, sebum, ensure that less hair, dander, and associated allergens circulate in the air when you brush?

What does research say about the horse hypoallergenic?

Monica Raulfe, a professor at Ruhr University, and her team surrounding Eva Zarhadnik wanted to discover and scientifically track Curlys horse allergens. They examined 224 hair samples and 32 different horse breeds – from the Shetland Islands to Haflinger to Hanover.

The result: “By comparison, we found significantly greater amounts of allergens in Curlys,” says Ralph. Didn’t expect it. By the way, the Tinker, Icelandic and Shetland ponies performed better. Their allergen levels were about seven times lower than those of the other breeds. It is not yet clear why.

Are curly horses suitable for allergy sufferers?


The affected riders are convinced that American Curly Bachcher horses can be better tolerated.

Even in the comparative grooming test, horses with a curly coat could not score. Here the researchers went to work with the help of their noses. They wore special filters in their nose while cleaning. Then the dust collected in it was analyzed for its content of allergens. Whether the testers prepared curly or quarter horse beforehand proved irrelevant: Similar high values ​​were found in nasal filters.

What horses produce allergens?

So, are hypoallergenic strains just a window sill? At least that’s what it looks like at the moment. In any case, the researchers discovered a critical allergen in all horses.

But there’s also good news: Scientists have found individual differences between individual horses. The amounts of Equ c 1 and Equ c 4 vary from horse to horse; Stallions in particular have attracted negative attention. Ralph: “So there are horses with high and low production of allergens, regardless of breed.”

In addition, people have different sensitivities. What causes itching for one may leave the other cold. Simply because people’s allergy pattern is woven individually.

Allergists and allergy sufferers know the phenomenon of dogs: While non-allergic breeds like crossbreeds of poodles have long been teased by researchers as a marketing ploy, it is entirely possible that dog A is well tolerated, while dog B suffers from the same type of runny nose and reacts Skin rash.

And another phenomenon that surprises experts in practice: sometimes the body gets used to a particular animal, the immune system decreases and the allergy subsides.

Equine allergy: what helps and what doesn’t?

As long as an allergic cold is kept in the stable, separation from the animal is not an option for most riders. Prof. Rose from the Stuttgart Clinic recommends reducing the amount of allergens first.

A good horse vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to clean your horse is a good first step. Because irritants from dry sweat, sebum, or loose skin cells are as light as feathers. Not only do they hover in the air for a long time, they also fly far away – depending on the weather, they can still be found 300-500 meters from the stables in the fresh air.

Switching your horse from hay to sawdust can also relieve symptoms. Of course, people with allergies or riders with sensitive relatives should wash their clothes and hair after each visit to the stable, store clothes outside the four walls and, if possible, drive an additional stationary vehicle.

Cortisone nasal spray can relieve persistent allergic colds, and antihistamines also suppress unpleasant reactions. They are not always a solution. Anyone with an allergy to horses often reacts to cats and dogs. In terms of chemical structure, Equ c 1 is similar to the main allergens in dogs and cats.

Desensitization, as it is known from hay fever, has not yet been very promising in cases of animal hair allergies. In extreme cases, allergists prefer to prescribe doses that eliminate the basic immune response to allergens. Semi-antibodies against the antibodies that humans react to allergens.

Down the drain: the new vaccine should discourage the possibility of allergy

In Zurich, Saiba Animal Health is currently looking for an exciting solution: a cat vaccination. It prevents cats from producing Fel d 1 protein, which is transferred to the fur with saliva when the cat is washed.

Hypocat, as the cat vaccine is called, is currently in the second phase of testing. So far, the four-legged people have tolerated the substance without any problems – and their owners’ symptoms have improved significantly.

Could such a solution be envisioned for horses in the future? Probably. In any case, the Swiss have already set their sights on dog vaccination based on the same principle.

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