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Anhydrosis ~ The Non-Sweating / Not-Sweating Enough Horse


Many of my first meetings with a new client is out of the frustration of NOT being able to control their Florida horses Anhydrosis.

Anhydrosis is the dreadful condition that some horses, usually warmbloods, Morgans, Quarter Horses and ponys to name a few, can become afflicted with as the days get warmer and more humid here in the deep south.

Unfortunately western medicine has no real answers or consistently effective treatments to save these poor animals from themselves; Yet…. Many, MANY of my wonderfully creative and talented colleagues are working on this and working on this HARD! You can bet your slant load trailer on that! Go TEAM!

But, in the meantime, what seems to work well so far, is…… wait for it ( cue lights, stately music and cute ponys dancing in flowers in a non-GMO field )…..

Traditional Chinese Medicine ( rousing applause )

Ahhhhh yes. You can expect that 75% of horses affected with anyhdrosis will recover some degree of appropriate sweating within 1-6 treatments when treated by a certified ( means knows what they are doing and did not just attend one table talk discussion at some vet meeting on it ) traditional chinese veterinary practitioner ( lets acronym that to TCVM for simplicity shall we? ).

That said, there are several other veterinary acupuncture training courses that certify vets who want to know who to do acupuncture, and they can be as effective at treating for this as well since the acupuncture “points” for non-sweaters are pretty standard; Most of the time. Some cases are, oh imagine this, INDIVIDUALS, and need. “You mean each case can be DIFFERENT?!?! Say it isn’t so Dr. H!” Sorry, it is very so much so. And that is why I LOVE TCVM guided acupuncture and medicine in general.

Anyway, that is fodder for a whole nother’ post.

Here are my standard suggestions for any horse under my care that is battling the war over lazy sweat glands.


For the currently afflicted:

  • Schedule your TCVM veterinarian for your horses evaluation and treatment.

  • Focus on keeping them cool in the EVENINGS!!!!! This is well worth the effort. Put in clean stalls with BI-LEVEL FANS ON HIGH. Add misters.

  • Cut back on the high energy feed. Ahem, sweet feed is a big fat NO-NO!!!

  • No more electrolytes unless your horse is a race horse, event horse or polo pony (lovingly called by me “Polop-onies”.

  • Offer white salt and red salt to lick, separately. NOT just one or the other.

  • Fresh water ( duh ).

  • Use the chinese medicine (its not herbs people, its medicine) as directed by a vet, wether or not your horse likes it. And take note, New Xian Ru San is THE TCVM gold standard for treatment. But, there are many more that are maybe a bit too potent for us to mention to the newly-inducted. This is where having one of us TCVM vets is really handy. Just saying.

  • Keep the dust/mold/mildew level down or we will be dealing with pasture associated HEAVES very, very shortly! Great, can’t sweat and now can’t breath! Don't laugh. It happens all the time and TCVM predicts it!

  • Hold off on vaccines until the crisis is over ( I get called out to some in REALLY bad shape sometimes….. Well, usually…. But, some only mildly affected, so we should talk about this ) if you can. Safety first, so if EEE ,WNV, Rabies or respiratory herpes exposure is quite possible, remember, death is bad. Call your regular attending vet, get your horse vaccinated and lets prevent death first. If you do need to administer vaccines at this non-sweaty time, beg your regular DVM to space them out. Say, E/W/T herpes intranasal first. Wait 3-4 week then WNV, wait again then Rabies, or Ebola or whatever turns your crank vaccine-wise. Give them a nice bottle of red wine or a six-pack of All Day IPA as a thank you for putting up with it ( No, to your vet not your horse silly). Works like a charm.

  • Riding rules? Well, it all depends on the condition and progression of the condition. We can discuss that at the farm. But generally, if they are panting before you even put tack on, riding is a big fat no-no.

Some horses tend to get “seasonal” heaves. Meaning it does not effect them until later in the summer. If you have one of those get me out there NOW, before it hits. Lets treat the underlying condition ( which we don’t know western medicine-wise but TCVM theory of disease has something to say and do for that ). If we can get ahead of the ball we may be able to prevent it from occurring this year or at worst perhaps lessen it’s stranglehold on your loyal and oh so sweet steed. You can be certain that I will work HARD to prevent it from making the two of you miserable again!

So there are my suggestions and demands ( Cheeky, I know, but it is for your own good.). In my experience, the “75% resolved with TCVM treatment” is pretty close. The exceptions are usually for those animals that have had on-going issues with Anhydrosis. These will take longer, and sadly maybe never, but most, if not ALL horses I have treated have gotten better when all of my suggestions, medications and management have been dutifully fulfilled.

One talented jumper gelding I had the distinct pleasure of treating had both stopped sweating and had heaves. Oh yeah and Cushings. Oh yeah, one hot mess!

After years of her equine vet father trying to help his poor daughters horse, he gave me a ring for some help. After treatment and chinese meds the gelding had a better summer but not 100% the first year. The second year his owner was able to ride/school and show at night. The third year he was 100% back to normal. I enjoyed working alongside her dad and at first I was quite the curiosity! But he was kind enough to “play along” and low and behold he could sweat well, no more heaves and his cushings was well managed all via TCVM methodology, medicine and acupuncture. Her father regularly calls me to help his clients with their horses on all kinds of weird stuff. Success!!!!

I Love my Job


Dr. Harvey

^^^^^/——\”< ( go gators )

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