Non-sweating Horses

Overview
This topic covers anything that isn’t considered normal on the skin of the horse and is not categorized into another topic.
Tip
These photos have captions to express any thoughts I have on the picture. The idea here is for YOU to get ideas, so grab a cup of coffee, darken the room, grab a pen and paper to write notes, and sit back and enjoy. I have more shots and I’ll add them later as I have time.

Click on any picture to see it in full size with the captions. Please enjoy and add any questions or comments below.

[memb_is_logged_in] Discussion:

No Sweat!

I mean, no sweat as in your horse has stopped sweating. For anyone in the latitudes where it never gets above 85 degrees F or the humidity is moderate, you will never know what I’m talking about.

I wish I had a picture of the first horse I had actually known with anhydrosis (the medical term for non-sweating). Only his head and nostrils could be seen while his remaining body remained below the surface of the water. More common are the horses standing in front of fans, nostrils flared, rib cage heaving as they struggle to remain cool without the benefit of the cooling effect of evaporating moisture from their skin.

As a vet student at Cornell, not much was said about this condition of horses. Little was written about it. Treatments spread about the horse world with anecdotal evidence to their effectiveness. Guinness Extra Stout ale, other dark ales, any beer are all common remedies. Acupuncture, the Equi-Patch, 1AC, misting fans, Ventipulman (albuterol) and prostaglandin injections all have reports of working to some degree in some horses.
Some Degree – Some Horses

No one has determined why some horses in the same environment stop sweating while others do sweat but we know that every horse is different with different responses to triggers. And no one (to my knowledge) has determined the mechanism behind anhydrosis.

Accidentally we have found a cure that seems to work in every horse we try it with and we need your help to give us more examples of this treatment’s success. It is August and it is hot. Will you help us figure this out?

Most of you already know that we are not big fans of feeding grain to any horse. This includes corn, oats, wheat, and especially wheat middlings which are inconsistent in nutritive value and are very inflammatory in most horses. As we convinced horse owners that grains cause inflammation in the gut with unwanted behavioral events, we also heard that some non-sweating horses started to sweat. We need more numbers to confirm this so if your horse isn’t sweating (to any degree), please try this and tell us.
What To Do

Step one – stop feeding your horse all grain, carrots, sugar, treats and red trace mineral salt licks (sugar). Only feed pasture, hay (grass or legume), real salt and water. NOTHING ELSE. Adding a handful of hay pellets or hay cubes to a bucket at “feeding time” is allowed.

Step two – wait about 4 days while continuing on this simple diet of grass, hay, salt and water. If past experience is true, then your horse will start to sweat about day three and really sweat by day 4.

Step three – report back your results in the comment section of this blog.

I must assume that digestive tract inflammation, leaking gut and/or general malaise is behind anhydrosis, I would like to understand the physiological principles behind this but as a horseman, getting an effective treatment is what counts. If horses start to sweat after removing grain and other uncommon sugars, then all the other benefits might also be worth considering.
Grain Intolerance

If your horse shows one or more of the following then there may be a degree of grain intolerance and gut inflammation.

Chronic poor body condition (thin) despite feeding large amounts of grain
Chronic spasmodic (non-surgical) colic
Squirts or dribbles fecal matter when defecating – stains the stall wall
Girthiness (shifts feet, swishes tail, puffs up)
Uncomfortable being brushed
Unwilling or difficult behavior on the ground or while ridden
Bucking or hopping when moving into the trot or canter
Unwilling to load into a trailer or difficult when trailering
Non-sweating to any degree

All of these have been resolved in client’s horses by taking the 2 week no-grain challenge. Learn more about grain problems at TheEquinePractice.com/grain. Take the 2 week no-grain challenge with your non-sweating horse and post the results. No harm in this and no cost either. You can’t lose though your horse might sweat a bit.

This video has 2 horses. The second one has rapid breathing and no sweat which is typical of a non-sweating horse.


[else_memb_is_logged_in]

Please log in to see the pictures and additional content of this topic.

Discussion:

No Sweat!

I mean, no sweat as in your horse has stopped sweating. For anyone in the latitudes where it never gets above 85 degrees F or the humidity is moderate, you will never know what I’m talking about.

I wish I had a picture of the first horse I had actually known with anhydrosis (the medical term for non-sweating). Only his head and nostrils could be seen while his remaining body remained below the surface of the water. More common are the horses standing in front of fans, nostrils flared, rib cage heaving as they struggle to remain cool without the benefit of the cooling effect of evaporating moisture from their skin.

Login for more
[/memb_is_logged_in]

Back to Disease and Medicine Topics

Comments 3

  1. My 14 yr old gelding has just stopped sweating. He has been on pasture and hay only for years. Other than adding salt, what else can I do?

    1. Post
      Author

      Discovering that a lot of non-sweating horses start to sweat after removing grain was a surprise to me. I still do not know the mechanism behind this but many people have found that it works. Now your horse comes along so let me say a few things.

      If it is true that it is the inflammation of the gut, you will need to look at any cause for this. Included in this would be: any chemicals added to the pasture or hay; increased sugar content of the spring grass; spreading of organic material (horse, cow, pig, chicken manure); anything else.

      If nothing has been added, then try removing or limiting your horse to the pasture. This can be an experiment done for only a week to test the results. If it is true that some change caused him to stop sweating, then that change needs to be found and either eliminated or addressed.

      After you exhaust all possibilities in finding the cause, you can try to add something to calm the hind gut. My go-to for this is Succeed. Get the starter pack of paste followed by granules. Be sure he is still not sweating when you add this and then record the results. If it works, the result may be permanent or you may need to continue it until cool weather come back.

      I really would like a follow up to this as you get more information. I see that you also read my other blog on this subject so be sure to comment there too. Thanks.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.