Joel asks about sore spot on his horse's withers

Joel R.

Dear Dr. Dan,
My 5-year-old Georgian Grande gelding has suddenly become very
sensitive on his withers.  He usually takes the every day bumps and
bruises of being a horse casually, but last week was different.  We
couldn't even touch the area; when we got close, he'd threaten to
kick, which is something he NEVER does.  We called the vet after a
couple of days of no improvement.  She had to give him two shots to
calm him enough to get to the spot.  Rubbing in one direction seemed
to cause the pain.  At first, we thought he might have rolled in a
cactus and the needles were spiking him.  She shaved the area and
couldn't find anything and gave him a steroid for the hives he was
developing on his body.

The hives went away but a couple of days later he was still touchy in
that area.  In face, he got antsy in the general vicinity, so it may
have spread.  We put him in the round pen, and he moved fine.  Just
not comfortable as you could tell he was bothered.

We are now considering the possibility of a soy allergy, as this was
added to his diet a month ago.  We plan to take him to a chiropractor,
which he has seen before, but the condition is odd.  Do you have any
thoughts on what could be causing his pain or know of any similar

Hello Joel,

First, I wouldn't worry about what was added to the diet, not even and especially not the soy as allergy testing always comes back to what a horse can't possibly be kept away from anyway- things like dust molds, weeds, and on and on.  I have never seen a soy allergy anyway and I have over 10,000 horses being provided soybean oil everyday with our Weight Check Oil. I will add that ours is high-quality soybean, but nonetheless, I have never seen any allergy make a horse as sore as your horse sounds.

Allergies may be an issue to deal with, but very very unlikely it is the soy. With that said, I do see lots of issues with commercial feed causing allergies though as they are full of junk- junk like hydrogenated fats, which are a big culprit in lots of unhealthy challenges. Every batch changes even though it might be the same brand. Please see my short video and other info at for more. 

Now, IF it's an allergy issue, the entire Feed For Success feeding program has helped thousands. I would also add the targeted support of both our Health Check to detox whatever is causing the hives and our Aller Check to support the immune system even more.


I am sure your vet considered but bee stings? maybe even brucellosis? which is a serious problem and transmissible to people- if any abceses (may be developing) in the withers, those 2 possibilities should be ruled out.

Thanks for asking Joe and please keep me posted about this.

Dr. Dan