Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Horses That Won't Sweat

Horses That Won't Sweat

From Certified Horseman's Assoc. Newsletter

"Hey man, no sweat!" This informal reply generally means "don't worry about it". But when used to describe a non-sweating horse it's reason for worry.

Horses (and humans) cool their bodies by sweating. When a horse is exercising or overheated the brain detects the rise in body temperature. Signals are sent to the sweat glands, which begin to secrete moisture. The evaporation of this moisture helps the horse feel cooler.

Keeping the brain and internal organs from over-heating is the primary function of sweating. Blood that is becoming hot travels out from the core of the body and toward the skin. Energy needed to produce sweat is pulled from the blood in the form of heat, which cools the blood and protects the vital organs.

Horses with anhidrosis cannot sweat, so they risk organ failure, which can lead to death. While most anhidrosis cases are concentrated in hot and humid areas (Gulf Coast states), it can occur anywhere. It can be mild to severe.

Some horses who suffer from anhidrosis many still exhibit small amounts of sweat, but not enough to cool their bodies. While a lack of sweat is the most obvious symptom, others include panting and a body temperature greater than 102° F. (38.8 ° C.). Dry skin and loss of hair may also be noticed.

No one knows what triggers anhidrosis. Moving a horse from a cool climate to a hot, humid one may trigger the condition. Other horses may stop sweating when the sweat glands are overly stimulated. A genetic link may also be possible – related horses may exhibit anhidrosis. Stress can be another contributing factor.

Horses with anhidrosis must be managed. The best thing for them is to move to a cooler climate. There is no cure. If moving to a cooler climate is not possible, there are steps that can be taken to give the non-sweating horse some relief.

Providing the horse with fans and misters can help. If the horse is kept outside, shade must be available and hosing him with cool water during the heat of the day is advised. Exercise and training should be done early in the morning – before the sun rises, or late in the evening. These horses should not perform during the heat of the day.

There are nutritional supplements on the market that are advertised for the anhidrotic horse. No controlled studies have been conducted to prove their effectiveness. Research at the University of Florida has shown one supplement, One AC, having some benefit.

Many owners of anhidrotic horses swear dark beer helps. Other treatments which have been tried are electrolyte supplementation, a treatment with a drug called methy dopa, using thyroid supplementation and acupuncture. None of these methods have been proven to work consistently and some have side effects.

Don't take "no sweat" lightly. A dry horse in hot, humid conditions is a sick horse and immediate care is needed.

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Variety of Breeds

The German Shepard (top photo) and Golden Retriever (second photo) are usually groomed using the furminating process - special shampoo & cream rinse that helps to loosen the dead hair and then furminator combs remove the excess. It's best to do this on a regular basis - about every 6 weeks.

The Mini Schnauzer (on couch with Golden) also gets groomed every 6 weeks. His body is shaved, and his head is trimmed to maintain his bushy beard and eyebrows.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (third photo) and the Papillon Spaniel (fourth photo) are also furminated. Like all dogs with long hair on the legs and ears, knots may form and will have to be combed out or snipped.

Australian Shepards and collie types can be furminated or given a long shave down like the one in the last photo. Labradors and Chows sometimes benefit from a shave down, too.

All breeds of dogs should have their ears, nails and teeth checked on a regular basis, such as once or twice a month. Keep an eye out for fleas, unusual skin conditions and lumps that grow.