Anhidrosis – Don’t sweat it!

Even though it’s still Winter and we haven’t really started thinking about the warmer weather that is fast approaching us, it’s super important to be proactive and aware of the challenges the Summer weather may bring our horses.

Summer means hot, stinky and humid weather, and to cope with these extreme temperatures  we like to go sit in the air conditioning, relax in the swimming pool or sit in front of a massive fan!  However, if we aren’t lucky enough to have these luxuries, we rely on our ability to sweat in order to cool down.

Now imagine if you had none of the above options to cool down…..face-screaming-in-fear

This is the reality that some horses have to face when they have an unfortunate condition called, Anhidrosis.


What is Anhidrosis?

Anhidrosis is also known as ‘drycoat syndrome’ or ‘non-sweating disease’. It’s defined as a decreased ability to sweat in response to increased body temperature. It can affect horses of all breeds and of all ages and can come on suddenly or develop over time.

A normal horse can return to a normal temperature and respiration rate relatively quickly after exercise. Whereas a horse with Anhidrosis will stay at a dangerously high temperature and respiration rate, which puts the horse at great risk or heat stroke and even potential brain damage in extreme cases.


Photo: Stance Equine

Photo: Stance Equine

What are the signs?

– A dry coat in the hotter weather, even thinning and loss of hair.

– Heavy breathing and panting during and after exercise. Look for rapid and shallow breaths that continue long after the exercise stops. The heavy breathing is the horse’s way of compensating for the inability to sweat and cool down.

– Lethargy and lack of willingness to perform.

– And of course the lack of perspiration after a heavy workout


How can I manage it?

The successful treatment of Anhidrosis can be relatively easy, but it is often challenging to cure. There are many different treatment options for Anhidrosis, and what works on one horse might not work on another.

Exercise your horse early in the morning or in the evening, when it’s not so hot. Take frequent breaks, allowing his/her breathing to recover before you ask for more effort.

Make sure your cool down process after a workout is long and effective – use lots of cold water and fans if possible. Monitor your horse’s vital signs and continue to hose down your horse until they are back to normal.

Ensure there is ample ventilation in his/her stable and be sure that there is large amounts of shade in the paddock (alternatively only turn the horse out at night time).

There are certain supplements available that have been proven helpful in the treatment for this syndrome. But please contact your vet for available options.

**DISCLAIMER** We are not vets, so if you have concerns about your horse’s health, please contact your vet as they will provide your horse with the best diagnosis, treatment available and care. 

August 17th, 2015 by