Anhidrosis in horses can be a real betch. My family used to have a pony with it, and she spent the summers in a large stall (that was open to the pasture) with a misting system and multiple large industrial fans. Unfortunately, I am facing the fact that Rio also has a real problem with sweating.
Last summer in Texas was fine. Hot? Yes. But it didn’t really get stupid hot until mid July, and even then I avoided the worst of it by riding in the evening at about 7:30 or so. I honestly kept thinking last summer how it wasn’t that bad. Really.
This summer? I am already dying. Rio is dying. We are are dying together. It was first noticed last summer that Rio doesn’t sweat very well, but it honestly never became a huge issue. Like I mentioned, it wasn’t too hot in Dallas for most of the summer, and I avoided the worst of it by riding as the sun was well on it’s way down. We put him on One AC and called it good.
I’m under the impression that One AC works for some horses, but it doesn’t do shit for Rio. He’s been on it since the beginning of April, and is NOT sweating. It’s bad. It’s been so friggin hot lately that I’ve ended up having to cut some lessons short, or barely hack for 15 minutes, for fear of over-heating him.
A bucket of water was placed ringside with a rag for Saturday lessons (I rode at 10) and Rio was repeatedly wiped down, but it didn’t seem to make a difference. Any time we weren’t going (group lesson) we were chilling in the one shady spot in the ring (thank God for the ringside tree). There is also a large water trough in the ring that is always kept filled with fresh water, but Rio will NOT drink from it. I mentioned to my trainer that we might want to hose him off BEFORE our lesson, and she agreed that was a good idea, so I will try that next time.
Of course riding earlier would be ideal, but her schedule hasn’t allowed it yet. At this point though, I am going to either have to lesson earlier (like 8 am) or not lesson at all when the temp is in the upper 90’s, at least until we get Rio’s sweating figured out.
So what’s the plan? The vet at Bay Yard also practices some eastern medicine. He does chiro, acupuncture, and occasionally uses various herbs alongside or sometimes in place of traditional meds depending on the situation. Although I am somewhat skeptical of eastern medicine, I also don’t claim to know it all (far from it LOL) and he has apparently had great success with some other anhidrosis horses at the barn using some Chinese herbs. Since the One AC is obviously doing nothing for Rio, we are going to try the herbs. They are more then triple the cost of One AC per month (of course, I obviously hate money), but the price will certainly be worth it if they get him sweating again.
Does this sound like snake oil voodoo magic? Maybe. BUT, I trust the people at my barn, and they said they have seen it work first hand, so I’m willing to give it a go. Do I worry about side effects to unregulated herbs, such as on the kidneys and liver? A little. I work in human medicine after all, and have heard some horror stories of damage being done by “natural herbs”. But, I also have to weigh the risk of the very real threat of over-heating. It’s only early June after all, we have 3-4 months of heat ahead of us.
Anyone else struggled with anhidrosis in horses? What did you do? What worked, and what didn’t? Do you give your horses Gatorade/Powerade? Rio already gets electrolytes in his grain, but I’m wondering if there is anything else I can do to help him out.