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thesugarlady

Older Horse Not Handling The Heat Like He Used To

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I have a 24/25 year old horse who I've had since he was 3. This is the first summer that I've noticed that he's not handling the heat as well as he used to.

This week, it's been getting in the high 90's and even dipped into 100+ temps.

I've been keeping an eye on him anyway, but this weekend and yesterday were much more noticeable. nothing huge, that I can put a finger on, but you know when you can just tell they're off.

Hubby rode Mack around for about 15 minutes Saturday morning, while it was still only 89 degrees. Only walked around bareback. He knows not to push him. He got off after 15 minutes saying Mack was breathing heavy. (Not like OMG we gotta call a vet, heavy. Just "Man, this is some work." heavy)

Well, when I was actually riding him last year, I always notice that of all the other horses being ridden with me, he'd sweat the least. I always assumed that that meant he was just in better shape. Last night, I brought my 3 horses in to feed, and my other two youngins were sweaty from neck to back. Mack didn't have a lick of sweat on him. He was covered in mud though. Maybe that kept him cooler.

I checked his gums, I checked his breathing. Everything looked normal, he just has this look on his face like "man, it's hotter than heck out here, and I'm miserable."

I'm a bit concerned about him. As this last winter, he wasn't handling the cold as well as he normally does either. Again, he was healthy, and he didn't loose any weight, but he just seemed off then too.

Anyway. Any tips for helping the senior horse out during the summer? Diet? Electolites?

He's out on pasture 24/7. There are mudholes for rolling, free choice mineral block, plenty of shaded places. He eats 2 lbs. of Tripple Crown Lite a day with a scoop of MSM mixed in.

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I just ran across this. anhidrosis

The disease typically begins with extremely heavy sweating all over, followed by the development of patchy sweating under the mane and between the legs over a period of 1-3 months. As the ability to sweat is progressively lost, the horse will begin puffing and blowing forcibly after exercise in efforts to compensate heat loss. A dry coat, thinning hair on the head and upper neck, and poor stamina are also symptoms of the disease. In more severe cases, the horse may develop ?heat overload? and collapse during strenuous exercise.

The puffing, and breathing hard after hubby riding him for a few minutes sounds like this could be it. He doesn't have thinning hair though. Greying around the head maybe, but no thinning. And he wasn't heavily exercised.

I'm in the south, and it's humid on top of hot around here. I really want to move a bit farther north, maybe escape this humidity, but that won't be for many more years...

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Is the horse well shedded out? We have a 27 yr old mare that does not shed out well. You could think out the hair by doing some body clipping. Also try cold hosing him when he has that miserable look on his face. Our mare gets turn out and when ever she is in the stall we have fans on her that she loves to stand in front of. Electrolytes could not hurt anything either. We use the with all of our horses when it is this hot. Good luck. [Jump]

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He's lost all his winter coat. His coat is nice, slick, and shiney, when it's not covered in mud, anyway. Right now, it's raining, so at least he's getting cooled off.

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Everyone has already offered some great suggestions.

Just a thought, first off, but if you aren't working him much, and he's on full-time pasture, he probably doesn't need 2 pounds of grain every day. That seems to be a bit much. A handful just to get him his supplements should be sufficient. Might want to consider re-balancing his diet. How is his BCS? Is he overweight? How is his haircoat?

A fan is the first thing I'd suggest, like others have mentioned. Keep him in the shade and get a fan blowing directly on him when it's really hot out. Electrolytes and adding salt to encourage drinking is another idea. If it's really hot you might even try hosing him off in the heat of the day, but be sure to use a sweat scraper immediately after. Don't let the water pool on him because excessive water can actually TRAP the body heat and make him overheat faster.

If he ISN'T sweating and the other horses are, that's actually a bigger concern because that's a sign that he's already dehydrated. So that actually worries me more. The lack of sweating indicates that he definitely isn't handling the heat well, and you might need to have a vet come out to look at him either way. Age is certainly a factor, I'm sure, but to be on the safe side you might want to have someone check him out before it becomes an emergency.

Good luck!

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I think the first thing is to figure out if he is sweating or not. I think HorseSci covered everything else.

Pistol is having a really hard time in this humid heat too. But he is sweating like a banshee and stands under the fan in the barn hallway. When he is not doing that, he is either in the woods or splashing in the creek. Even with all that, he is depressed and I did catch him breathing heavily the other day when it was 98.

I sprayed water on his neck and chest, put him in the hallway and gave him a bucket of water.

The heat is really wearing on him though. He can't seem to hold his weight. I think it may be time....

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Awwwww BB [Huggy] It's always hard when you start thinking about that kind of stuff.

The idea's been in the back of my head with Mack too. He's still holding a good weight though, and he moves around pretty well. Even if he does sound like a bowl of rice krispies when he first starts walking. I noticed this winter that he just seemed depressed. He does perk up at dinner time though. I see that old gleam in his eyes.

I sorta just get the feeling that he's just kind of there, but then I also see him occasionally playing with the younger geldings. You know, that head tag thing they do. Then again, I could be over thinking, and he's just hot, and then in the winter, he's just cold. heck, I don't even do well in the heat and humidity, and I'm not ready to be put out.

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HorseSciStudent:

BCS?? I'm not familiar with that term

Coat is healthy, slick, and shiney, when it's not covered in mud

Weight: Looks normal, he does have that typical older horse belly/grass belly

As for the amount of feed. As far as I know, I'm feeding per the instructions for TC Lite. Basically, those 2lbs contain his nutrients without a whole lot of fat. I will look into that AGAIN. Every time I think I have a diet on each of my horses, I've got to change it all over again. Very frustrating.

And another thought, if it is anhidrosis, I've looked it up, and there really isn't much that can be done, aside from trying to make the horse more comfortable. I'm trying to research it as much as possible.

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BCS - Body Condition Score http://www.admani.com/AllianceEquine/Body%...n%20Scoring.htm

You can ask ShelleyandAndyCarter about anhidrosis, her horse Ollie has it. There is another member on here too that has one.

You know Pistol has lots of other probs too. So it is really worse for him. Mack is probably just really hot.

I think they are somewhat like older people. They have a hard time regulating their body temp.

[Angel] Hope you get it figured out and he is fine.

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My former mare was ridden up to the time she had to be put down at the age of 27 yrs. I always kept her in a stable where there was a fan on her at all times in the heat of the summer (except at night). She tolerated the heat fine. Never rode her in the heat of the day....always evenings. Then, hosed her off before putting her in stall for the night. I'd suggest that you do the same with any older horse. Also, the feed issue is important. More hay, less grain, and plenty of salt so they drink water. If your horse is ultrasensitive to bugs, I think you need to use a fly sheet. My current gelding can't tolerate flies at all.....they make him crazy. [Crazy]

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We have two horses here that are anhydrotic. My 19 yr old Tb has been that way for several years. She has been on One AC and seems to do da bit better. This summer I have her on a herbal Detox program and in the last several days she has really started to sweat. She had been blowing hard just being in the pasture. She is handling the heat well these last several days and it has been close to 100. The other mare is Hannoverian and she is 27 now. If the older girls start to have problems, we bring them in and hose them off. They stand in the barn for the afternoon. I have seen this happen with several older horses.

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I heard once about someone putting a beer in their feed. Is this an old wives tale?

No it's not a wives tale. But there is something about a specific type/darkness that's needed. And it's done in conjunction with other things.

I highly recommend you ask Shelley about that. She seemed quite happy with the set up she had for Ollie. Last I saw he was doing really well.

To the OP I know that water intake is a biggie to ensure they can get through those extreme temps. A teaspoon of salt in their feed or electrolytes in a bucket of water can go a long way towards keeping them going. We have them in the tank now for all of our horses with the 110+ days we've been having.

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Not sweating and panting (breathing hard) in 90 degree plus heat with humidity? It is anhydrosis.

Dark beer might help if you put it on his food. Our vet used to do race horses and he suggested wine also. Don't laugh, it helps some horses. Hosing down, misting, fans, lots of shade will help. Our horse with this problem used to lie in the pond every chance he got. OneAC is THE cure for most horses with this problem although it won't work for all horses. It works best if you give it morning and night in two equal doses. I researched it when our horse became affected, and it's almost like type 2 diabetes where the body refuses to use sugar cause it's had too much for too long. The horse sweats a lot...all the time in reaction to extreme heat. Eventually, his body refuses to react to the stimulus that makes him sweat. It's like the circuits get overloaded so they shut down. Some horses can be lightly used with caution, other horses (like mine) almost end up with heat stroke. Mine would stand in the pasture in the shade and be on the verge of heat stroke. You can't mist and hose 24 hours a day. Not sweating will also cause skin problems eventually. It sounds like you caught it early. Try the OneAC. If it works, your horse will start sweating again normally. Give it a week. Before this stuff was developed at the Univ. of Florida, the only solution for most horses was to be moved to a colder climate. And that still didn't solve the problem of not sweating when they worked. It crops up in thoroughbreds and performance horses a lot as well as older horses and horses in hot, humid climates.

Just take it seriously, because it can get worse FAST if the horse is stressed and/or the heat goes up.

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OOPS...sorry, I didn't mean cure. OneAC will not cure this, it will treat it. There is no cure. Once a horse develops this problem, it's permanent. Again, like diabetes. You can have a mild intolerance, or a major one, but you've got an intolerance. When my thoroughbred developed it, no one had heard of OneAC, at least around here. My vet was not aware of it. (Sometimes being a reference librarian can be a big help.) That was over 3 years ago and now my vet prescribes this routinely. Last summer and this summer we've had WEEKS of 100 degree plus weather and my horse is sweating like crazy. I know, based on what he went through 3 years ago, that without this he would be dead. He came close to it then. I'm serious, one day he was fine, the next day he was panting like a dog. I just thought.....Take your horse's temp. If he can't sweat it will be elevated.

Like human heat stroke, the heat he can't throw off is what will cook his brain. Be careful. Good luck.

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