Spirulina Update

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We’ve been tracking additional horses on Spirulina since our December 2004 article, explaining its use in controlling allergies in horses. It continues to be an excellent choice.

One Quarter Horse mare broke out in hives in January with no identifiable cause, although the veterinarian reported that 10 other horses within a 100-mile radius had hives within the two-day period. Treatment started with injectable antihistamines. It produced only temporary relief. Corticosteroids were added, but she required a shot every 3 to 4 days.

Various supplements were tried, but the hives and the steroid requirement continued. This cycle continued over a four-month period until, on April 11, the mare started on 20 grams of Spirulina twice a day. By April 21, she was hives-free without steroid injections.

It’s not a cure, and it’s possible the hives coincidentally resolved on their own, but studies show Spirulina can shift the immune response to potential antigens away from the allergy pathway. Even if it’s only helping symptomatically, it’s a much safer choice than long-term steroid injections. Remember though that hives can also be a sign of underlying systemic diseases. A horse with hives should always have a thorough work up and be under a veterinarian’s care.

We’ve also received positive reports of Spirulina helping heaves, sweet itch caused by Culicoides (no-see-ums), seasonal headshaking and respiratory allergies. Again, veterinary involvement is recommended.