Anhidrosis, A Story.

My husband got an injection in the butt.

I feel like that's a good opener.

Even better, his boss injected him.

I giggle nonstop thinking about it.

So, given that he inflamed something in his butt cheek, last night was supposed to be a light night at the gym.  I'm sort of surprised with the changes in our workouts - a year ago, we did Insanity nonstop, I ran constantly and I rode when able.  Now it's like... we're allowing ourselves to relax.

I ended up pushing some dude off the squat rack who was alternating between it and the Smith machine, so I could do my squats, overhead press and deadlift.  Woo.  Muscles.  Then it was the adductor, abductor, glute kickback, angled calf raises and the sliding leg press.  Husband doesn't want me to use the linear leg press any more because he said that the higher weights have a tendency to pop out vertebrae given the positioning of and pressure on the spine.

Learn something new every day.

As far as other world things, nothing exciting has happened.  I desperately need to buy Archie a new blanket because his little tocks and chest are sticking out of that thing I bought two years ago.  I guess he's muscled up some.  Or it shrunk.  Or I suck at purchasing blankets and have only just realized.  The sheet fits great, though!

Speaking of His Muscled Butt (not to be confused with His Injected Butt), I started talking with L.Williams about anhidrosis (or anhydrosis) (or that non-sweating shit that fucks up everyone's lives).  I mention it on his page, but I don't think I've ever gone really in-depth about it.  I've only personally heard of one other horse who was afflicted by it, so I think we're still in the minority (SmartPak says "1 in 5 horses.").  So let me educate you on my experience.

It was a Tuesday.  I can't remember what I wore yesterday, but I remember that it was a Tuesday in the summer of 2010 and I was feeding.  I went to get Arch and immediately, immediately, knew something was wrong.  His head was as low as he could comfortably get it and he was taking huge, gasping breaths.  Then I realized that he was completely dry.

This is Georgia.  From April to September, horses are never completely dry.

I don't remember if I knew about anhidrosis prior to this happening to us.  Maybe I'd read about it.  But I had seen heat stroke in the emergency room at the vet's office at which I worked.  So, I put my tortured horse into the wash rack and started hosing and scraping.  I hosed him for a while, scraping off the warmed water to cool his skin.  Then I grabbed every standing fan in the barn and plugged in each one in front of him.

A call to my trainer resulted to a call to my vet, which then resulted in a trip to the vet's office the next day.  Because they'd seen it so often, no exam was required for them to dispense medication to me.  We started Archie on beer, One AC, a bronchial dilator and another medication (I can't remember what!).

Every single day was like that first one.

For the duration of summer, my horse would spend an hour or so recovering from his inability to handle the heat.  If I wasn't working, the other feeder would do it for me.  And I would try to squeeze by between my other two jobs to check on him.  At first, there was no improvement.  Months of torture.  Sometimes, I wonder how I valued twenty-some-odd hours of okay-ness over the fucking misery that he encountered every day.

Riding was completely out of the question.  He spent the heat of the day in his stall, in front of a fan, only to be pulled out when he started blowing.  His gorgeous coat became dry, brittle, and bald in patches.  Was it wrong of me to hope?  Was I being selfish?

This continued on.  D and I moved in August of 2010 to Savannah.  Archie spent ten days in Augusta without me before my trainer was able to haul him down to Savannah.

His first day in Savannah, the beginning of September, my horse sweat again for the first time in months.

I cried.

My friends used to make fun of me for talking about his beer so much.  But none of them really understood that I was at the point of making the decision to euthanize my partner.  That something in his brain was off-kilter and I wasn't sure that it would work again, that he could be comfortable and thrive again.  So here's where we are now with his anhidrosis:

  • Archie stays on One AC year-round.  He gets a half-dose in the fall and winter and a full dose in spring and summer.
  • The Kid gets two beers a day during the summer.  So much of the year is hot and humid here that as soon as it breaks 90º regularly, he gets the beer.  I used to buy the expensive stuff, but when you think that he'll blow through a twelve-pack in less than a week, I started buying the cheaper stuff.  And, anyways, I think Steel Reserve has more stuff in it to appeal to a horse.  (The ideal recommendation is Guinness.  No joke.)
  • The summers of 2011 and 2012, Archie sweat like an average horse.  Some days, he would be drenched.  Others, just average.  BO once told me that I could probably take him off the One AC.  I said no, while cursing her in my head.
  • If Archie is drenched, I don't hose him off.  I don't want to interfere with his mind and body and their functionality.  It seems counterproductive, but it's what I've got and it's been working thus far.  Knock on wood.
  • I am hyper-sensitive to his sweat patterns.  Seriously.  If you're a friend of mine on facebook, prepare yourself for pictures of his sweaty butt.  I get excited.  I get emotional.  I get thankful.  

When he first moved to Savannah.

First sweat.  To answer your question,
fuck yes, I took pictures and posted them to facebook.
You can see how dry his coat was.  Bald patches on the withers.

Shit yeah.  Sweat.

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  1. Moving story :) I'm really glad you've got something that works and that he sweats!

    1. Dude, if his situation changes, I will lose my shit. :) But... that's why I told you about it - if it's at all preventable, I wouldn't want another horse to go through it.

  2. Wow...crazy. And I have never read a whole post about human and horse sweat. You just mastered i!

    1. Haha! I didn't think about that when I was writing it, but yeah, sweat is definitely the common factor!