Anhidrosis – Know the signs!

Although it’s been a gorgeous 80 degrees and sunny this past week, we ALL know the hot, muggy summer is forthcoming……….

Anhidrosis in horses is a VERY dangerous problem.  Anhidrosis refers to a condition when horses are unable to sweat.  Although it is more common in Florida and other extremely hot and humid parts of the country, any horse, at any time, can develop anhidrosis, and it’s EXTREMELY important that we learn to quickly recognize the signs.  Common knowledge tells us that if a horse is over heated and not able to sweat and cool their body off naturally, heat stroke, and even death, can occur.

Last summer, I had a horse here at the Green Barn (who consequently came here FROM Florida) that developed anhidrosis.  At first, I just thought she was a playful girl who liked to drive me crazy by jumping around in the water troughs, and/or dumping her water buckets all over the place in her stall.  Because she was constantly wet from these activities and me hosing her off (because I assumed, correctly, that she was hot), I didn’t readily recognize that she had lost the ability to sweat!!  Scary!  Here she is enjoying her (several times) daily ritual:

I actually have about a million pictures of her standing in the troughs, but of course I can’t find any when I need them!!  LOL… BUT this totally reminded me of her :)

I’m pleased to say we kept her as cool as possible and she stayed nice and healthy… :)

It’s imperative that we know the signs of anhidrosis and heat stroke!  Look for tired horses, not grazing… no sweat (or a teeny line of sweat down the back and on face, but not widely covering), elevated pulse, increased respiration …and my own personal favorite – horses literally attempting to go swimming in the water troughs.  That isn’t foolproof however, some horses ARE just silly, LOL!!!

Tips for keeping your horses cool:

  • Offer free choice grass/hay (grazing helps horses stay cool)
  • Cool, fresh water at all time
  • Shade or shelter with nice breeze (if you don’t have much tree cover or outdoor shelters, horses may need to be in stalls during the hottest part of the day with open windows and fans)
  • In extreme cases, alcohol baths

If your horses suffers with anhidrosis, there is hope!  I personally don’t have experience with it, but i’ve heard fabulous things about a product called One AC.  This product is an easy to feed top-dress supplement with an extremely high rating (4.6/5).  Your non-sweaty horse will thank you!!!

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