ISSN 2398-2977      

Skin: food hypersensitivity

pequis

Synonym(s): Food allergy, Adverse food reaction


Introduction

  • Cause: skin disease triggered by ingestion of a substance found in the horse's diet.
  • Signs: urticaria, pruritis, scaling/crusting.
  • Diagnosis: food trial, skin scraping.
  • Treatment: avoidance of allergen, glucocorticoids, antihistamines.
  • Prognosis: good.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Food allergens or nutritional supplements.

Predisposing factors

General

Pathophysiology

  • Several types of hypersensitivity may develop to food allergens.
  • The most commonly accepted is type I hypersensitivity, although type III and IV reactions are also suspected.
  • IgE are produced against allergens contained in the horse's diet (usually proteins). IgE bind to mast cells and upon re-exposure → mast cell degranulation and release of histamine and other mediators, eg prostaglandins and leukotrienes. These mediators → recruitment of inflammatory cells, eg eosinophils, in the skin.

Timecourse

  • Sensitization occurs over a long period of time, usually many years. During this period of time the animal is exposed to the antigen, but it does not develop clinical signs.
  • Once sensitization has occurred symptoms can be triggered within minutes to hours from the exposure to the offending food, depending on the type of hypersensitivity that is involved.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Littlewood J D & Jackson H A (2022) On the possible role of food allergy in chronic urticaria in racing horses. Vet Derm 33 (2), 179 PubMed.
  • Favrot C & Olivry T (2022) On the possible role of food allergy in chronic urticaria in racing horses. Vet Derm 33 (1), 103-104 PubMed.
  • Pali-Schöll I, De Lucia M et al (2017) Comparing immediate-type food reactions in humans and companion animals – revealing unmet needs. Allergy 72 (11), 1643-1656 PubMed.
  • Dupont S, De Spiegeleer A et al (2016) A commercially available immunoglobulin E-based test for food allergy gives inconsistent results in healthy ponies. Equine Vet J 48 (1), 109-113 PubMed.
  • White S D (2015) A diagnostic approach to the pruritic horse. Equine Vet Educ 27 (3), 156-166 WileyOnline.
  • Marsella R (2013) Equine allergy therapy update on the treatment of environmental, insect bite hypersensitivity and food allergies. Vet Clin Equine 29 (3), 551-557 PubMed.
  • Volland-Francqueville M & Sabbah A (2004) Recurrent or chronic urticaria in thoroughbred race-horses: clinical observationsAllerg Immunol 36 (1), 9-12 PubMed.
  • Francqueville M & Sabbah A (1999) Chronic urticaria in sports horsesAllerg Immunol 31 (6), 212-213 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Scott D W & Miller W H (2011) Skin Immune System and Allergic Skin Diseases. In: Equine Dermatology. 2nd edn. Saunders, USA. pp 263-313.
  • Knottenbelt D C (2009) Pascoe’s Principles and Practice of Equine Dermatology. 2nd edn. Saunders, USA.
  • Scott D W & Miller W H (2003) Equine Dermatology. W B Saunders, USA. pp 453-458.

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