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One-time Anhidrosis Episode?

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  • One-time Anhidrosis Episode?

    The mare I'm caring for and hoping to buy early next year had a strange anhidrosis-type episode last night.

    This is a 12 year old thoroughbred mare who I'm hoping to take to our first BN trial in early 2013. She has talent and scope for much more but I'm a weenie lol

    She's clipped (but with a 5 so has essentially about a summer-ish coat) and is a great sweater in temps over 60° — without exception until yesterday.

    I did a light workout in upper 60°. She wasn't sluggish but I noticed she tripped with her hind about 3x. While this is somewhat out of the ordinary for her, I didn't think much of it because we don't have an arena and practice out in a field with uneven footing.

    At the end of our 45 min workout, I got off and noticed she hadn't broken a sweat, not even around her ears. I chalked this up to it being slightly chilly and not doing a whole lot (20 min trot, 8 min canter).

    She wasn't breathing hard and seemed her normal self. Five minutes later at the barn and untacking, she began to breathe very hard. I cold hosed her legs and tried to get her to cool down. Her heart rate was slightly elevated.

    I've only ever dealt with one horse with anhidrosis before so I decided to treat it like I had been told to treat the other one (almost a decade ago and not sure if I remembered everything correctly). I grabbed a beer (which she wouldn't drink until I mixed some beet pulp into it) and gave her 10cc banamine all in less than 30-40 min onset of symptoms. By the time I administered the banamine, she was breathing at just above normal rate. 15 min later her breathing normalized. During the episode she seemed tired and slightly sleepy (not really despondent but just sort of lackluster and droopy lipped — she normally droops but she was very droopy). As her breathing normalized, she snapped back to her normal self.

    I checked back 2.5 hours later and everything checked out normal.

    What was this??? What happened? I don't understand at all ... if this is anhidrosis, will this be recurrent? I'm obviously really concerned since sweating is very important to our career plans. I've been working with this mare for more than a year and have never seen anything like this in her. She's always been healthy and the only soundness issues she's had has been from a kick. Owner said she's never seen the mare do this before either.

  • #2
    Sounds more like a mild tie up to me.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • Original Poster

      Vet mentioned that too. I'm at the clinic now waiting for them to do bloodwork and an exam (my appointment is 1230, but vet got lost on last appointment so won't be back for another hour or so).

      She's definitely not feeling as well as I thought. She's an anxious hauler but she was more nervous than usual on the way over here. Hopefully it's nothing serious!


      • #4
        Seems like more than anhydrosis.

        I groom for an anhydrosis horse that happens to be an Advanced/CCI*** event horse. One AC and Platinum Refresh keeps him sweating reasonably well, but when it first started, it presented as not sweating at all after work in 95+ degree temps, 104+ temp after work, and GREATLY increased resp. rate. He had to be cooled by rotations of ice water bath/dried and standing in front of a high-power aisle fan to evaportate/ice bath again/repeat until temp and resp came down. The first time it occurred it took 35 minutes to get him to a normal temp and respiration.

        A clipped horse in 60 degrees not sweating, with other symptoms, would make me look elsewhere before anhydrosis...typically anhydrosis is more severe and evident at higher temps.


        • #5
          What RS said. I think she tied up.


          • Original Poster

            Vet diagnosed it as an anhidrosis event. Blood work came back clean (no tying up). He palp'd her for tumors and pelvic fractures, and a bunch of other things — no stone left unturned here!

            She's from Ohio by way of Indiana and this is her second winter down here. He said anhidrosis often comes on for northern horses in their second or third year down south. He said we were really lucky this came on in the winter so we can set up for summer and have minimal issues.

            We gave her a shot of adrenaline and she did end up sweating pretty heavily. We went home with One AC and ordered to give her two beers a day and keep her hydrated.

            It makes me feel better that a 3* horse has anhidrosis too!


            • Original Poster

              Wanted to add: I wasn't certain if I had done the right thing with giving banamine. Vet said it was a great treatment. Banamine lowers body temperatures and reduces inflammation, he said. Though that might be helpful for anyone else who ever stumbles upon a sudden onset of anhidrosis!


              • #8
                Originally posted by AzuWish View Post
                Vet diagnosed it as an anhidrosis event. Blood work came back clean (no tying up). He palp'd her for tumors and pelvic fractures, and a bunch of other things — no stone left unturned here!


                We gave her a shot of adrenaline and she did end up sweating pretty heavily. We went home with One AC and ordered to give her two beers a day and keep her hydrated.

                It makes me feel better that a 3* horse has anhidrosis too!
                How can an anhydrotic horse have an 'episode' then sweat in response to adrenaline? My experience with anhydrosis is limited- but when we tested my horse with Epi given s/c...my horse did NOT sweat at all at the injection site- that lack of normal response was the giveaway that he was anhydrotic. I'm not arguing, I'm truly curious...


                • Original Poster

                  Good question!

                  You know, he explained it because I asked the same question but I'm not recalling right now. It was something to do with "can" sweat vs. "will" sweat. Like anhidrosis doesn't mean they physically can't sweat, it means that their body will not sweat. But I could be getting that all wrong.

                  I believe he said prolonged anhidrosis can create the horse to be unable to sweat entirely, but early stages and caught early, it's better.

                  I know absolutely nothing of anhidrosis but I plan to learn more. I might call him again tomorrow to make sure I understand everything.


                  • #10
                    My vet gave them a big dose of clenbuterol in hopes of making them break out in a sweat. He said if you can make them sweat chemically they often go back to sweating normally afterwards.
                    McDowell Racing Stables

                    Home Away From Home


                    • #11
                      It's suggested now to use terbutaline injected in the neck in increasing doses to monitor how much it takes to cause the horse to sweat. The increasing concentrations help determine if the horse is fully or partially anhydrotic, and if partial, to what degree.

                      "Adrenaline" is actually an epinephrine injection, and it is typically injected in increasingly concentrated doses the same way terbutaline is to test sweating. It has a few more complications and side effects than terbutaline, which is why the terbutaline test is performed more commonly now.

                      Fully anhydrotic horses won't sweat at all, with any concentration of epi/terbutaline - this is probably what is going on with your horse, Katarine. Partially anhydrotic horses won't respond to low concentrations of epi/terbutaline, but will sweat in response to higher concentrations. Does that answer your question?

                      Clenbuterol is a common treatment for anhydrosis, as is the One-AC. Methyl-dopa is also commonly used. "True Sweat" has had some good reviews anecdotally, but I haven't seen any literature on it yet. Sometimes keeping them in an air-conditioned stall can get them sweating again.

                      Some horses resume sweating at some point in the future. It is unsure if this is because of treatment, or in spite of it, because nobody knows why anhydrosis occurs in the first place. Some horses never do sweat well again. The most popular theory as to why it occurs is because of chronic intense stimulation by epinephrine to the sweat glands and basically the sweat glands eventually get worn out and stop sweating, but nobody really knows for sure.


                      • #12
                        Very interesting post, thank you.

                        I lucked into selling my horse North to Ohio, in a stable (ha ha) home where I know he's in great hands. He's been there....5 years? 4? I would be so interested to see how that Mississippi born and raised horse would handle coming back down South...He just QUIT sweating one day and nothing we tried helped- Guinness, ONE A/C, etc...Let Em Sweat helped the most but in central AL in July there is nothing that will work.

                        Very interesting info, thank you again for posting that.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thank you for clarifying my experience, Lauren! And she misted after a 1/2 ml or gram (not certain) of the epinephrine, and full blown sweated with an additional half.

                          Vet had said some people use it as treatment to restart the sweat glands, if that's the theory you prescribe to. He admitted it was a strange claim but that it might have value.

                          The goal is to get this mare sweating normally over winter so we go into summer without an issue. This is the same mare that I took cross country on Labor Day in the middle of the day — so 90° temperatures. Here's a pic of both of us super sweaty: http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...42611048_n.jpg


                          • #14
                            I don't know jack, but I do have a TB/warmblood who had an anhidrotic episode. The summer before I bought her, her kid owner schooled her in 100 degree heat all summer and took her to H/J shows every other weekend. It was a pretty grueling schedule. At the end of July the mare had completely stopped sweating. Not a drop. Her face went bald, her forelock fell out, and she stunk. Old Stinky Cue-ball, they called her. She'd just stand there, panting and dejected. Unlike the OP, this mare's condition persisted for several months. It was pitiful to see (even more pitiful was that the kid and her trainer kept her in heavy work anyway; I can't believe the horse didn't just drop dead, but that's whole nother rant).

                            I'd read that stress can be a factor in anhidrosis, a theory that my own experience does not contradict. When I got my mitts on her that September I immediately gave her 2 months off. She got hosed down 4 times a day and we each had a Guinness* at cocktail hour. Tried One AC but it gave her diarrhea so that was a bust. Then I repurposed her from kid's hunter to crone's plunker. At some point during that winter she gradually started sweating again and for two years now she's been sweating like a pig, even in the Texas swelter. My hypothesis is that the combination of R&R and cooler weather cured her initially, and that my beneficent aura keeps her that way.

                            And by "beneficient aura" I mean that if it's over 85 F, we don't go faster than a jog. I just don't give her an excuse to stop sweating.

                            *The Guinness, I think, was probably more for my benefit.
                            Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
                              *The Guinness, I think, was probably more for my benefit.

                              One of my professors told us to get a 6-pack of Guiness to help with anhydrosis. 1 is for the horse. The other 5 are for you!


                              • Original Poster

                                Love the Guinness more for self! I said something similar the night of the episode, that I got her a beer and had one myself because at that point I was pretty upset.

                                As for stress, she has a pretty easy life. Turnout 24/7 with access to shelter, she gets ridden about 4-6x per week by me (usually dressage schooling focusing on relaxation), jumped about 2x monthly. She goes on trails, and has a happy existence with her pasture buddy that she gets to boss around. The horses on the other side of the fence are nasty to both girls, so we keep them separated.

                                She does get ridden into a sweat most of the time, but this is because we're training for competition. I want to do my first BN this spring, and maybe a novice by next fall. She's already done her first First Level test, and I'd like to continue our dressage. When she's ridden into a sweat it isn't to exhaust her or for very long, but to work on things we need to work on (keeping our canter lead as I leg yield her out, instead of swapping; going from extended trot into a balanced, calm stretching trot; etc.). Our workouts are generally less than 45 min long. The times she doesn't sweat is usually on a long walking trail ride or the days we just do walk work, working on laterals.

                                The vet did prescribe her some Adequan because during the work up he determined a slight stifle/hock issue on the right, only evident when you raise and hold the leg. That's in the mail and on its way. I had originally identified it as muscle weakness since it went away with training and hasn't reappeared. But better to treat now while it isn't giving us a performance issue! However, maybe it causes her more stress than I have realized.

                                I did some research this morning and saw that dehydration can also cause anhidrosis. Bloodwork did indicate that she was slightly dehydrated. So I wonder if that's what caused the episode?

                                She gets about 1-2 oz daily of salt, is fed a good potassium diet (her feed alone gives her the recommended amount, not including her forage and daily oats) and usually is a good drinker. She has access to a salt lick but I've never seen her sample it. From what I've read, this is all well within the values needed for proper hydration. I also feed her about 5 lbs of soaked beet pulp and 5 lbs of soaked alfalfa pellets daily, so she gets extra hydration. But I guess I can always do more! I'm hoping the One AC helps too.

                                I mix her own feed, so those curious can see it here: http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...92565628_n.jpg

                                She gets 4lbs of that daily, 3 lbs of whole oats, 5 lbs alfalfa pellets, 5 lbs of beet pulp, 8 lbs of orchard hay and 12 lbs of coastal hay daily (she has free choice coastal for 6-8 hours a day so that's an estimation).