Unable to Sweat in Horses

2 min read

Anhidrosis in Horses

Anhidrosis is defined as the inability to sweat. This problem in horses usually develops over time but can occur acutely. Since horses depend on their ability to sweat to help regulate body temperature like humans do, it can quickly become a serious condition, leading to hyperthermia and heat stress.

When suffering from anhidrosis, some horses retain some ability to sweat in certain areas. But the majority are unable to sweat in most areas of their body.

Symptoms and Types

  • Panting after exercise, or while standing
  • Weakened performance
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Occasionally, patchy sweat


The exact cause of anhidrosis is unknown, although it may be the result of a cellular defect within the sweat gland. Excessive heat and humidity can exacerbate it.


The clinical signs of this condition make it fairly straightforward to diagnose. Your veterinarian may give an injection of epinephrine to help induce sweating, and if the horse’s sweat glands are functional, the horse will sweat until the hormone injection is depleted. After diagnosis, treatment can begin.

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