Zyrtec for horses

My mare has allergies this time of year. She’s been checked over several times and diagnosed with mild asthma. We think it’s allergies. We have changed her bedding, have her on turnout as much as possible, give her dexamethazone during flare ups, and she gets Cough Free daily. She was doing well with this until the pollen hit from the pine trees. So, the vet gave me her dose for generic otc Zyrtec. Has anyone used that for their horse? Has it worked? Any side effects you’ve noticed? We’re hoping this gets her past her flare up (it seems to happen this time of year and again in late summer). The next step up is the nebulizers or inhalers and those are costly.

A horse that was at a barn I worked at was on that year round. Middle aged TB, no side effects noticed. Was on it for years, his owner stocked up at Costco. Said the savings paid for her membership.

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I use it for my mare’s allergies every spring. No side effects. It doesn’t completely eliminate her symptoms but it does make them more manageable. I don’t have a Costco membership but you can generally get the generic on Amazon for about $15 for 365 pills. Since I only need to treat for about 4-6 weeks a year it’s not that bad cost-wise.

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You completely rock! I just ordered some. Thank you.

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That is very good to know. Thank you. I pared out an apple half, put the pills in, drizzled molasses over the top, and she ate it. The key was not watching her. She knows something is up if I watch, lol

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I know quite a few people who are using it very successfully.

The studied dose is .2-.4mg/kg, every 12-24 hours.

Most people I know start at the higher dose, every 12 hours, until they see results (or stop after a couple weeks if they don’t), and then slowly back down to see what the lowest effective dose for their horse is.

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My horse lives on it from about April to October. Has for the last few years. He is “pre-COPD” and has skin allergies to something in his field. He is more inclined to eat this than Benadryl.

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My horse has been on Zyrtec for about a year (although I’m not convinced it’s doing anything for her). I haven’t noticed any side effects. She scarfs them down just tossed right in her feed. My vet told me they have a sweet taste that most horses like.

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I used it on a pony who had a major hives reaction which all settled as belly edema. The vet said they like it more than benedryl now. There were no side effects at all that I could see. The pony competed in a Pony Club show jumping rally while on Zyrtec.

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For those that have used it, did you still need to use dexamethasone for flare ups? We have her on dex right now to calm everything down, but I’m hoping she won’t need it again. I worry about the side effects from steroids.

I am currently using it on my mild IAD horse. It has helped but not enough. While on stall rest for an injury this past winter, it was sufficient. However now that she again has exposure to a round bale while she is turned out during the day, it’s just not cutting it.

I can’t use oral or injectable steroids due to a previous founder so I have just started a course of inhaled steroids which I am hoping will help. So far (just a couple of days) so good. She has had no adverse reaction to it. I was worried due to previous reaction to a puffer. I tried an inhaled bronchodilator about a year ago and that was a disaster. Turned my noisy while working but non-coughing horse into a 2 pack a day smoker. Like clockwork, 20 minutes after giving her her inhaler she would just about hack up a lung.

Ventipulmin did nothing except empty my wallet rather quickly.

My $0.02 on my experience.

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I do still have to supplement with dex during the worst of the season. Luckily my mare doesn’t have any conditions that would preclude the use of steroids and I’m always careful to limit it as much as possible and wean her off as soon as we get past the peak of the season. Fortunately in almost 10 years of using this protocol I’ve never had an issue. You may want to talk to your vet to see if a blood test for cushing’s or IR would be beneficial before using dex.

A non-RX option that my vet has found helpful for her own horses and those in her clinical practice, though it’s bloody expensive- Total Respiratory by Ramard. It’s a paste administered by syringe. For what my guy needs it worked better than Respi-Free and approached the efficacy of Ventipulmin.

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Thank you for sharing all your experiences. I really appreciate all the input.

My mare is on it and it absolutely helps. I buy the generic version in bulk when I see it on sale.

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I have a pony on it during the summer for hives and resp allergies. Works well and no side effects

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Since my pony is only 12 hands, my vet wanted to avoid using dex if possible, due to the increased risk of laminitis. Since his was a one time (but major) reaction, a few weeks of zyrtec and waiting for the edema to reabsorb did the trick and luckily it has not happened again.

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My horse started having some respiratory issues last fall. It came on suddenly, had a handful of flare ups at rest, plus some exercise intolerance. Went away when the snow came so we suspect an allergy.
He lives out 24/7 with a round bale (set up so that he can’t stick his head inside of it).

We used dex for the flare ups, and I bought some generic Zyrtec that he was on until the snow came. I’m not sure how much it really helped.

Since we can’t show on virtually any of the respiratory medications I’m taking him for allergy testing in May.
He can’t have any meds for a month prior. And no Omega 3 supplements for two weeks prior.

I’ve currently got him on Mad Barns new Omega 3 product. It has 1.5 grams/serving of EPA/DHA and is palatable. I’ll have to pull him off of it before testing.

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Am I reading this right that the high end dose would be ~18 10mg pills per 12 hour or day for a 1000 lb horse? :open_mouth:

I have a gelding that has recently decided to have allergies and want to discuss with my vet at spring shot time. Wondering about the feasibility of getting that many into him at once.

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The pills are tiny and don’t seem to be noticed at all in 1/2 cup of soaked senior.