Report of the 3rd Havemeyer workshop on allergic diseases of the Horse, Hólar, Iceland, June 2007

E. Marti, V. Gerber, A. D. Wilson, J. P. Lavoie, D. Horohov, R. Crameri, D. P. Lunn, D. Antczak, S. Björnsdóttir, T. S. Björnsdóttir, F. Cunningham, M. Dérer, R. Frey, E. Hamza, P. Horin, M. Heimann, G. Kolm-Stark, G. Ólafsdóttir, E. Ramery, C. RussellA. Schaffartzik, V. Svansson, S. Torsteinsdóttir, B. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Allergic diseases occur in most mammals, although some species such as humans, dogs and horses seem to be more prone to develop allergies than others. In horses, insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH), an allergic dermatitis caused by bites of midges, and recurrent airway obstruction (RAO), a hyperreactivity to stable born dust and allergens, are the two most prevalent allergic diseases. Allergic diseases involve the interaction of three major factors: (i) genetic constitution, (ii) exposure to allergens, and (iii) a dysregulation of the immune response determined by (i) and (ii). However, other environmental factors such as infectious diseases, contact with endotoxin and degree of infestation with endoparasites have been shown to influence the prevalence of allergic diseases in humans. How these factors may impact upon allergic disease in the horse is unknown at this time. The 3rd workshop on Allergic Diseases of the Horse, with major sponsorship from the Havemeyer Foundation, was held in Hólar, Iceland, in June 2007 and focussed on immunological and genetic aspects of IBH and RAO. This particular venue was chosen because of the prevalence of IBH in exported Icelandic horses. The incidence of IBH is significantly different between Icelandic horses born in Europe or North America and those born in Iceland and exported as adults. Although the genetic factors and allergens are the same, exported adult horses show a greater incidence of IBH. This suggests that environmental or epigenetic factors may contribute to this response. This report summarizes the present state of knowledge and summarizes important issues discussed at the workshop.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-361
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 15 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to the Dorothy Russell Havemeyer Foundation for financial support and to Dr. Sigridur Björnsdottir, Holar, Iceland, for the excellent local organization of the workshop.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Veterinary (all)


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