Anhidrosis (non-sweating disease)

By: Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis

Anhidrosis is also known as 'drycoat syndrome' or 'non-sweating disease'. In the early stages or less severe cases, there will be less sweat in areas under the saddle than is normal after a workout. In its initial stages anhidrosis is also known as 'puff disease' because horses pant heavily, even after work ceases. Horses will have very little, patchy or no sweat, elevated pulse, and a higher than normal body temperature when worked. After exercise recovery is slow. The horse may also have flakey dandruff and coat loss. The horse may appear distressed or lethargic during periods of hot humid weather. 

The cause of anhidrosis is not clear but does appear more frequently where temperatures and humidity are high for extended periods of time. Additionally anhidrosis:

  • can affect all breeds and ages of horses
  • can develop quickly or over a long period of time where indicators become more severe
  • can be triggered by stress, exercise, or heat

Managing anhidrosis: Temperature and exercise management, day stalling with fans, night time turnout, encouraging water intake, lower calorie diet, and cold water hosing.

Acupoints are chosen to support the Lung functions of controlling Chi and respiration. In anhydrotic horses the Lung is not doing its job of spreading the fluids from the Spleen - resulting in no sweat. So we look to expel Summer Heat and regulate sweating, tonify Lung chi and Yin, tonify Spleen chi, and promote the circulation of Wei chi. Acupressure points chosen include:

  • Bl 40      clears Summer Heat
  • Lu 7        promotes Wei (Defensive) chi circulation
  • LI 4         promotes Wei (Defensive) chi circulation
  • Ki 7         regulates sweating
  • GV 14     regulates sweating and calms the spirit
  • Bl 17       benefits skin dehydration and dryness supports the Spleen
  • Bl 20       supports the Lung

The chart below shows you the location of these points.

equine anhydrosis and acupressure