Researchers Testing Vaccine To Relieve Equine Skin Allergies

A team of researchers from Swiss, English, and Latvian universities believe they may have developed a vaccine to relieve “sweet itch” — the allergic skin reaction some horses experience in response to bug bites.

Sweet itch is characterized by swelling, flakiness, or even open wounds in reaction to the allergen deposited by flying, biting insects. It’s an immune response from the horse’s body, so the researchers constructed a vaccine that would control two types of white blood cells involved in the immune response and the itchy allergic reaction.

The initial test, on a group of 34 Icelandic horses, showed improvement for all treated horses compared to the control group, and improvement in their own symptoms from the previous year.

If successful, researchers say the principles behind the vaccine’s development — a type of immunotherapy used on a chronic problem — could help other species, too.

Read more at Practical Horseman

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