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ALLERGY TO THE HORSE HAIR, presented to the Curly Horse community by France Curly February 28, 2012

THE OPINION OF THE VETERINARIAN ... ... By DR Vet J Verschuren

Vet Consider that in France, one in three are suffering from an allergy. What interests us especially, is being allergic to horses, which is much more widespread than thought, today increasing numbers of riders and horse owners face the problem of suffering from an allergic reaction on contact with horses. The allergen from the skin of the horse, called dander, is volatile and therefore is easily inhaled causing an allergic reaction as type 1; called humoral, with, among other things, release of histamines and kininogens, vasodilation, smooth muscle spasm, swelling and skin rashes. So when the person is in the presence of a horse very quickly suffers from itching, irritated eyes, runny nose and whistling of the bronchi, similar to asthma attacks. The allergist will find through blood tests and skin rates immunoglobulin E level.

As for the Curly, you can not say "non-allergic", but "Hypoallergenic" the Curly carries allergens, but in trace amounts. People with allergies will not react or will only react a little bit with these horses. The Curly is generally a Curly horse, they can be of several different degrees and even straight hairs can be present. The allergy does not depend on the degree of curl, a "straight" (straight haired) may prove just as hypoallergenic as a very curly Curly, but an allergic person may suffer from minor reactions to one Curly, and not another. Therefore it is imperative that contact tests are carried out before any decision can be made when buying a Curly. Having found that some do not respond or respond very little, it is important to understand why.

Studies have been conducted by ICHO, American Registry, especially to study the structure of the hair because itís so different, naturally. Using a microscope we found that a much finer hair and follicular dysplasia were present. We should, therefore, find a difference in protein structure of the skin, compared to other breeds, in the Curly. In Germany, researchers have found a lower amount of protein in the skin of Curlies, compared to other breeds. Due to lack of funds for further research, we still have many other questions.

background photo and permission for use granted by Barbara Wheeler Photography,
this is a curly horse (stallion) out in a wild horse herd, the source of the original North American Curly Horses

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