Obese horse not sweating, breathing hard after little work..?

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Obese horse not sweating, breathing hard after little work..?

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    07-11-2013, 04:38 PM
Question Obese horse not sweating, breathing hard after little work..?

So I have a friend that I went to a show with last weekend. It was upwards of 90 degrees F. We did a pleasure division (3 flat classes) and after that her horse was breathing VERY rapidly. The classes were very short (because of the heat) and he is used to working more than that. The only sweat on him was under his saddle. My horse, however, was drenched. Clearly it was hot enough. We got him back to our popup tent set up next to our trailer and he took a drink and she took his tack off and sponged him down. His breathing came down and he chilled out for a while. She showed him in some over fences classes later that day and he seemed alright, but still didn't break a sweat.

I've never seen a horse breathe so fast in my life, not even ones that have just ran a race. And now that I think about it, I rode him a couple times for her just at the barn to give him some exercise and on any normal day that my horse would sweat up a storm, her horse never really did sweat much at all.

Also, he is a 17 year old TB and weighs around 1250lbs (overweight, clearly lol)
Also, we thought about dehydration, but he did pee on the trailer on the way to the show and didn't seem to want to drink a lot.
In the last two years he has gone from being a hard keeper to getting fat off of air. She didn't seemed to worried about him, but I'm curious to know what might be going on with him. A metabolic disorder perhaps?
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    07-11-2013, 10:25 PM
This is called anhydrosis. It can be deadly. She should take it very seriously.
    07-11-2013, 10:35 PM
1250 for a TB may not be overweight depending upon the horse's height and build. My boy was 1250 at 16.2 and considered at perfect weight but he was heaver boned than the pencil thin boned thoroughbreds..people always asked me if he was a Trakehner cross.

As for the anhydrosis, think heat exhaustion that can lead to heat stroke. The sweat mechanism in horses can shutdown for whatever reason..some due to high humidity, others due to changes in location from cooler, less humid areas to hot, high humid areas. It is a dangerous condition if not controlled.

At the barn I was at in Louisiana, north of New Orleans in Slidell, we had a horse come down from Connecticut in the high heat of the Louisiana summer..his sweat mechanism completely shut down. That horse could be standing in 100+ degree temps with standard 80%+ humidity levels (I called it New Orleans soup) and he would be completely dry. They didn't show the entire time and only rode in the early morning hours or late evening. They had to rinse him down before they rode and again after as well as add electrolytes to his feed in order to get him to drink more. The vet, I can just imagine the look on my face when he said it, prescribed a 12 oz can of beer per day for the horse to be added to his morning feed. Once October rolled around and temps and humidity went down the sweat mechanism kicked in again.

The horse was fine the next summer and had no issues.
    07-11-2013, 10:35 PM
After I posted this I did some research and I'm thinking that's what it is too. Unfortunately she tries to spend as little money on him as possible so I doubt she'll take it very seriously at all. I told our BO about the situation and she said she's familiar with it and that it's possible, but I think she's convinced that it's his weight. A vet is coming out to do blood work on another boarders horse next week sometime, and I'm tempted to come out and ride him while he's there and ask the vet what he thinks. Idk what else to do without her getting charged :/ I did sent her an email with a link with some information in it about anhydrosis. Hopefully she'll believe me and not think I'm just over-reacting because I'm in Pre-Vet school right now. I don't want to come off as a know-it-all, but something clearly isn't right.
    07-11-2013, 10:38 PM
He is 16.1 with pencil thing legs and tiny feet. He is not built to hold that kind of weight lol. I'll have to find a picture. Also, we've both boarded our horses at the same place for the last 3 years, and neither of them have ever left VA/MD.
    07-11-2013, 10:45 PM
The humidity has been really high this year (I am in MD as well) and some horses may react to it, but yes, if the horse is a standard toothpick TB then 1250 is probably too much :). I admit I was surprised at my boy's weight when I took him up to the Marion Dupont Center for a lameness check..he just didn't LOOK that heavy.
    07-11-2013, 10:48 PM
Ugh tell me about it. I just rode tonight around 6:30 and my horse and I were just drenched and it wasn't even that hot.

Hopefully this link works okay. Shannon Yard - June 15
He just LOOKS fat haha, there is no doubt about that.
    07-11-2013, 11:11 PM
Yes, that is a heavy TB :). Here was mine at 1250 and this was after he gained 150 pounds from being underweight. You can also see the before shot:
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    07-11-2013, 11:59 PM
The frustrating thing about anhidrosis is they've yet to determine what causes it (although there are some theories and some serious possibilities that are being looked at), no cure for it and everyone has some treatment for it that worked with horse A, C, D and H, but did nothing with horse B, E, F or G. At least that what the claims are.
It can come in varying degrees of severity. The only thing that is known to work with all horses is just keeping them cool (shade, fans, standing in a pond or stream up to their stomach in the water and under the shade of a tree, hosing them down, mist sprayers, air conditioning, etc....). You can keep them cool without any additional expense. My older mare had a bad case of it one Summer after a relocation and I just kept her in a shaded area most of the time and let her play in the pond a lot. The next year she was sweating, but it took two years before she was back to normal. I know one girl who must have gone through several cases of Guinness one Summer trying to get her horse to sweat. He still didn't sweat that Summer, but he developed a real taste for Guinness . Of course she loves to say it was what caused him to eventually start sweating when Summer was over, but he was sweating before Summer started . He did sweat better the following year so he didn't get a season worth of Guinness again (I guess it wasn't too bright )
    07-12-2013, 02:04 AM
I have also heard that the dark beer a day does help some horses sweat better.
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