THE VETERINARY'S REVIEW
By Dr. Vet Jeroen Verschuren
It is considered that in France, one out of three people has an allergy. What interests us more specifically here is the allergy to the horse, much more widespread than we think, with today a growing number of horse riders and owners confronted with the problems of allergy in contact with the horse.
The allergen in question comes from the skin of the horse, so-called volatile dander, which can therefore, on inhalation cause a type 1 allergic reaction, called humoral, with among others, drop of histamines and kininogenesis, vasodilatation, smooth muscle spasm, edema and erythema of the skin.
So, the person who is in the presence of the horse is very itchy, irritated eyes, runny nose and bronchi whistling, even asthma attacks. The allergist will see through blood and skin tests a high immunoglobulin E level.
Regarding the horse Curly, we can not say "non-allergic", but "hypoallergenic": the Curly is carrier of allergens, but in tiny quantities. People with allergies will not react or little in contact with these horses.
The Curly is a generally curly horse, with several different degrees, or even stiff bristles. Hypoallergenic does not depend on the degree of crimp, a straight subject can be just as hypoallergenic as a curly Curly, but an allergic person can react to a given Curly, not an other. It is therefore imperative that contact tests be carried out before any decision by the applicant. After finding that some do not react or little, it is important to understand the why of this phenomenon.
Studies have been conducted by ICHO, American reference register, studying mainly the structure of this hair so different, which borders naturally. It has been found a microscopically much finer hair and follicular dysplasia. So we are going towards a difference in the protein structure of Curly's skin compared to other horses. In Germany, researchers have shown a lower protein level in Curly dander compared to other breeds. Due to the lack of funds for further research, we still remain on many other questions.