As the summer heats up around the country and especially in the warmer states all equine owners need to keep their horses well hydrated. The average horse drinks between 5 to 10 gallons of water per day. It is important to provide clean, fresh water at all times and be aware of increased water requirements during extremely hot days.
Sodium in the horse’s diet is essential to maintaining proper hydration. Providing a salt block or supplementing with electrolytes can help ensure that the horse is meeting its sodium requirements and encourage drinking.
Especially in extreme summer heat, it is important to observe the amount of sweat the horse is producing. Anhidrosis, or the inability to sweat normally, can be a common challenge for our equine partners in the summer months, particularly in hot, humid climates. A horse with Anhidrosis is often called a “non‐sweater.”
In addition to lack of sweat, signs of Anhidrosis can include increased respiratory rate, elevated temperature, areas of hair loss, or dry, flaky skin. If any of these signs are noticed, contact a veterinarian immediately.
The treatment of Anhidrosis includes a few simple changes. All horses should have access to shade and cool water throughout the day. Any exercise should be scheduled when the temperatures are lower, usually earlier or later in the day. Turnout should be limited to the night or cooler portions of the day. Fans can be provided indoors during extreme heat and the supplementation of electrolytes can be very helpful. Another common treatment for Anhidrosis is adding dark beer to their feed, such as Guinness. Some cases require more significant treatment, and commercial products are available to help as well.