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Equine Anhidrosis Non Sweating Disease
 By Saferaphus   •   27th Dec 2016   •   548 views   •   0 comments


Those of you that live in the Northern Hemisphere that own a horse with anhidrosis may be breathing a sigh of relief right now. But for those in the Southern Hemisphere, where things are really heating up, a diagnosis of anhidrosis might leave you in cold sweats, but not your horse.

Anhidrosis is known by a few names. You might hear it called dry-coat syndrome. Or, because a horse with anhidrosis will pant to cool itself, it can be called puff disease. Or it might be called non-sweating disease. But basically, a horse with anhidrosis will not sweat, no matter how hard it is working, or how hot the weather is. That means it can overheat very quickly.

Horses develop anhidrosis when their sweat glands become over-stressed and shut down. This malfunctioning means that your horse stays dry, rather than become wet with sweat. Sweating is a cooling mechanism. So a horse that isn’t sweating has fewer ways to regulate its body temperature. In response, its respiration may become elevated and stay that way, even though it has had plenty of time to rest after work. It’s not exactly certain what triggers the condition. It may be heat, stress, hard work or a combination of factors.

Horses with anhidrosis don’t work well during hot weather or when they are worked very hard in warm weather. If you were to take your horse’s temperature, you would find that its internal temperature is higher than normal. In extreme cases, the body temperature can reach 104F - 5 degrees higher than normal. In addition to problems cooling itself, a horse with anhidrosis may have irritated, dry skin and some hair loss.

Anhidrosis seems to affect horses living in hot, humid areas where the weather stays tropical for weeks at a time. In some areas of the U.S., as many as one horse in five may have some degree of anhidrosis. In some cases, the horse’s sweat glands shut down very suddenly, but the condition can also build very slowly. And, the severity of the symptoms varies as well. Some horses may break out with a bit of dampness where you would expect a horse to sweat while working and some don’t break a sweat at all. All the symptoms can easily lead to heat stroke if the horse isn’t cooled down.

So, what do you do when you think your horse has anhidrosis? If you’ve been working with your horse, it seems like it’s breathing hard, but it’s not sweating, cool it off with a sponge and water, hose or splash in a nearby pond. Then Call the vet for a diagnosis.

Your vet can help you determine a strategy for dealing with the condition. This might include stabling during the day, and turning out at night when the air temperature is cooler, adding electrolytes to the horse’s diet if test show an imbalance of mineral salts, riding when it is cooler, keeping a fan on the horse when it's stabled and ensuring it has shade when it is turned out. After a ride, sponging and hosing along with scraping can help cool your horse out faster. There are also supplements that many people have had good success with that can help promote sweating such as The OneAC and True Sweat.

In extreme cases, it might be best to send your horse to a more northerly climate so it doesn’t have to deal with the prolonged heat. This is a tough decision.
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