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By Dr. Jeroen 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 it’s 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.


By Dr. Jacques Laurent

Why is it Curly "vaccine"?

Allergy to horse hair is actually an abnormal reaction of the human immune system to a protein found mainly in the skin of horses. This allergy is called immediate allergic hypersensitivity, where cells manufacture the subject, the contact with the allergen, immunoglobulin type E. At first contact with a horse, at this phase you’re not clinically aware that the immune system is reacting silently. Repeated contact with the same allergen (which may be to different horses ) will induce the production of large quantities of IgE along with ‘informed’ lymphocytes. The memory of immune cells is great, and the time between knowing about the production of IgE, can be counted in years.

Simplified diagram of the allergic reaction type of immediate hypersensitivity. The production of large amounts of IgE at the time of the allergic reaction is independent of the amount of antigen present in the environment. IgE antibodies attach themselves to certain other immune system cells, such as mast cells, who return them, via the blood, to the chemical mediators which will stimulate the target organs and cause a clinical allergic reaction: bronchoalveolar constriction (asthma), rhinitis, eczema, pruritus, but also ... headache and abdominal pain. If the protein finds his fine structure differs, the number of ‘informed’ lymphocytes alerted by the presence of the allergen will be less.
The immune systems response will (ie allergic) dysfunction and the symptoms will be weaker or nonexistent. However if, the protein is in very low quantities, as in the Curly, each contact to small quantities of the specific immunoglobulin (G4), will lead to resistance against the antigen and eventual eradication of the organism. When the number of these antibodies is sufficient, the subject is protected. This is the effect of "vaccination" to the antigen, which, currently, is being medically practiced under the name of desensitization.

Thus, our Curly is hypo- allergenic, not only because it induces little or no allergic reaction, but also because you can "vaccine" the body so that riders can be desensitized in the hope that they can be in the presence of other breeds of horses too without suffering from a reaction.