Suffering from hay fever is never pleasant but for 14-year- old Teddy it ' s debilitating.

That's because Teddy is a horse with the equine equivalent of the pollen allergy - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Not ideal for an animal that spends every day surrounded by bales of hay and straw. His owner Samantha Ashby, aged 19, has to damp down his feed to get rid of any dust spores and he sleeps on a bed of shredded newspaper.

When the 15-hand Arab is exposed to hay or straw, he starts sneezing, and coughs and wheezes as if he is having an asthma attack.

The attacks are triggered by tiny dust particles which narrow the bronchial airways, reducing the intake of air into Teddy's lungs.

Fortunately Miss Ashby, of Exhall, Coventry, is training to be a veterinary nurse, and she keeps a first aid kit handy with horse anti-histamines.

She said: "I never knew horses could suffer from hay fever. If he is exposed to the dust spores, he looks pitiful and very chesty.

" Straw and hay are banned from his stable. Newspaper is the perfect choice because it is dustfree and a low-cost material.

"He suffers more when the weather is hot, or if he's been cooped up in the stable."

Vet Paul James said: "It is similar to hay fever in humans in that it causes a narrowing of the bronchial airways, which allow air into the lungs.

"In an ideal world, we would give Teddy a permanent anti-histamine or steroid inhaler. But prevention is better than cure."