Horse Allergies

This page is an overview of different allergens, and why we are concerned when individuals have allergies to other horses, rabbits, or food allergies to egg & meat.   

About 85% of folks who are allergic to cats react to Fel-d1, which is a uteroglobin like protein.  It is the commonest cause of cat allergies, and the most important.  The other 15% of cat-allergic folks are reacting to one or more of the other 13 cat allergens.

In addition, most people are allergic to more than one cat allergen.  When we see allergies to horses, rabbits, dogs, or severe food allergies to pork, beef, or egg - we need to be concerned.  The majority of those individuals will have some reactions to low Fel d1 Siberians.  By spending time with a tested very low Fel d1 allergen Siberian, we can get a very good idea of long term placement results.

Allergens share commonalities between species. For example: Albumin is a protein made by all animals. It holds fluids in the bloodstream and carries vitamins and enzymes throughout the body.  Albumin made by cats has the same functions as albumin made by dogs, horses, and people, but the structure of albumin is slightly different in each species.  

Our immune system can react to albumins from many different animals.  There are different epitopes (places the immune system can bind to) on albumins.  For instance, there are 6 epitopes found on chicken egg albumin. Some of these epitopes are the same between species, and others totally different.  Our immune system is highly adaptable and variable, and each person reacts to allergens in a different way.  

For an illustration, consider a PaperMate Pencil and Papermate Pen (think of these as two allergens).  There are different latch-points “epitopes" (the writing tip, barrel, shirt clip, eraser).  If your immune system latches onto the shirt clip of the Pencil, you will also react to the Pen.  If my immune system latches onto the writing tip of the Pencil, I would not react to the Pen. 

Looking at the three commonest cat allergens, you can see why there are cross reactions. 

Fel d 1 ~ Cat uteroglobin not found in other animals. 

Fel d 2 ~ Cat serum albumin, sharing epitopes with Dog and Horse, and also found Pork and Beef meat.

Fel d 4 ~ Cat lipocalin, sharing epitopes with Horse, Boar, Mouse, Cow

Horses are one of the most important and significant sources of mammalian allergens, and will occur in half of individuals who have prolonged contact with them.  Anaphylaxis in children can occur from exposure to horse albumin or lipocalin without warning, though minor symptoms are usually present first, and include asthma, itching, eczema, etc.  Childrens Chewable Benadryl may be advisable when allergic children visit horses, as Benedryl can help abort severe reactions.

Anyone with allergies to horses, dogs, rabbits, or with food allergies to pork, egg, and beef may react to a low Fel d1 Siberian.  These cross-reactive allergies are the primary cause of failure with very low Fel d1 Siberian.  We can sucessfully place kittens in about 40% of these situations. Because of this risk of these reactions, it is important that folks with these allergies fur test, and then spend time with a tested very low Siberian before purchase. 

U© Meredith Lundberg 2015