Anhidrosis is the scientific name for a dysfunction in the ability to sweat. Equine anhidrosis has been recognized for many years, but it’s exact cause is still not known. There does not seem to be any predilection for a particular horse breed, age or coat color, and both male and female horses are affected. Some horses may not be able to sweat at all, and others only sweat in some locations.

Many people may not realize that their horse is suffering from anhidrosis initially, and they may just believe the horse is not performing well. As it becomes more advanced, usually with continued work or increases in ambient temperature, the horse may start to breath quickly, up to 120 breaths per minute. This may last hours after exercise. The horse will also have an elevated rectal temperature, which will not return within normal limits 30 minutes post exercise.

There is no standard method of treatment for this dysfunction. Your veterinarian should be contacted immediately and depending on the severity, action should be taken to cool the horses down and minimize heat stress. Electrolytes may be indicated. For horses that have repeated episodes, veterinarians may recommend a drug protocol or alternative therapies such as acupuncture.

Provided by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital (