Anhydrosis (Puffing or Dry Coat)

Puffing or Dry Coat


Rocky JumpingRocky was foaled in Victoria but moved to Darwin at the age of three. We purchased Rocky in May, 2009, at the age of six. His previous owner hadn't worked him a great deal but in the time she did, she noticed that he did 'puff' quite a bit. She said she had tried various remedies but to no avail. Toward the end of 2009, as we worked him more and the weather became hotter, it became clear that Rocky had anhydrosis. At one point at the end of 2009 he stopped sweating all together.


Anhydrosis (sometimes called puffing or dry coat) is a serious illness where a horse is unable to sweat (either enough or at all) in response to temperature extremes. As sweating is the main way a horse cools itself when hot, this condition can quickly become life threatening.


I was told by a local racehorse trainer that if a horse arrives from down south and stops sweating under the hot Darwin conditions, they just send them back on the next truck as it's too hard to fix. We however wanted to keep our horse so tried numerous treatments including herbal and off-the-shelf remedies. All seemed to work to some degree and he would start to sweat again, but not enough, hence he continued to overheat and resort to puffing like a dog to try to cool down. He also didn't look well; his coat was quite dull and he was lacking in energy. We had a fan installed in his stable which gave some relief from the heat but did not solve the problem.


In May, 2010, we did a hair test revealing, amongst other things, he was high in copper and deficient in zinc so I contacted our herbalist. She looked again at our feed program and was a little bewildered as we couldn't add or delete anything to correct the imbalance as it would have adverse side effects in other areas. In the end she recommended I look at the Gotcha website as she had heard of people having success with their program.


Rocky SweatingWe started Rocky on the Gotcha Feed Plan in June, 2010. At first he was not impressed with this new basic diet but after a week or so his appetite returned. As the weather was cooler, we didn't notice any huge changes until one day in mid August when my daughter took him for a ride on a hot day. He returned covered in sweat and not puffing. I was amazed.


We have since moved from Darwin to Canberra and Rocky continues to sweat normally. It certainly helps that the weather is cooler here but I do believe he was on the road to recovery before we moved. I can only assume that correct mineral balance may have been the key? Pictured right is the only photo I have of Rocky sweating. Taken during a ride on the beach mid September, 2010, a few days before leaving for Canberra.


Belinda Palmer - Canberra, ACT.


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