Atopic dermatitis

Veterinary advice should be sought before applying any treatment or vaccine.

Atopic Dermatitis


Atopic Dermatitis Overview

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, immune-mediated, inflammatory skin condition found to affect horses. It occurs as a result of an interaction between genetic predisposition and environmental factors such as allergens (dust, mold, and/or pollen). It is caused by the horse's inability to repair damage to the skin barrier. The disease can occur seasonally or nonseasonally, depending on the allergens involved.

Certain horse breeds are more prone to developing allergies; these include Dutch warmbloods, Morgans, Paso Finos, Swedish warmbloods, Oldenburgs, Hackney horses, Arabians, Arabian/Saddlebred cross breeds, and Polish Arabians.

Although itching is the primary symptom, skin lesions can range from mild redness to severe lichenification.


Intense itching
Hair loss


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Intradermal skin test
  • Serum IgE Test


Allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT)
Topical corticosteroids
Avoidance of precipitating factors
Change in feed
Soaking hay in water

Scientific Research

General Overviews

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Age Range

Age of onset in horses is typically between 1-6 years of age.