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An epidemiologic study of anhidrosis in horses in Florida

Eric B. JohnsonDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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Robert J. MacKayDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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Jorge A. HernandezDepartment of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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Abstract

Objective—To estimate prevalence of and identify factors associated with anhidrosis in horses in Florida.

Design—Cross-sectional study and case-control study.

Animals—4,620 horses on 500 farms.

Procedures—A questionnaire was structured and mailed to farm owners or managers to obtain information related to diagnosis of anhidrosis in horses and exposure factors associated with this condition. The frequency of investigated farm- and animal-level factors was compared between farms and horses affected and not affected with anhidrosis, respectively.

Results—The prevalence of anhidrosis was 11% at the farm level and 2% at the animal level. The odds of anhidrosis were 2.13 and 4.40 times as high in farms located in central and southern Florida, respectively, compared with odds for farms in northern Florida. The odds of anhidrosis were 5.26 and 15.40 times as high in show and riding instruction operations, respectively, compared with odds for ranch operations. At the animal level, breed (Thoroughbreds and warmblood horses), foaling place (western or midwestern region of the United States), and family history of anhidrosis were significantly associated with anhidrosis.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—This study provides new information on the prevalence of and factors for anhidrosis in horses in Florida. Horses with a family history of anhidrosis should be examined by a veterinarian for diagnosis of this condition before they are exposed to exercise in a hot and humid climate.

Abstract

Objective—To estimate prevalence of and identify factors associated with anhidrosis in horses in Florida.

Design—Cross-sectional study and case-control study.

Animals—4,620 horses on 500 farms.

Procedures—A questionnaire was structured and mailed to farm owners or managers to obtain information related to diagnosis of anhidrosis in horses and exposure factors associated with this condition. The frequency of investigated farm- and animal-level factors was compared between farms and horses affected and not affected with anhidrosis, respectively.

Results—The prevalence of anhidrosis was 11% at the farm level and 2% at the animal level. The odds of anhidrosis were 2.13 and 4.40 times as high in farms located in central and southern Florida, respectively, compared with odds for farms in northern Florida. The odds of anhidrosis were 5.26 and 15.40 times as high in show and riding instruction operations, respectively, compared with odds for ranch operations. At the animal level, breed (Thoroughbreds and warmblood horses), foaling place (western or midwestern region of the United States), and family history of anhidrosis were significantly associated with anhidrosis.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—This study provides new information on the prevalence of and factors for anhidrosis in horses in Florida. Horses with a family history of anhidrosis should be examined by a veterinarian for diagnosis of this condition before they are exposed to exercise in a hot and humid climate.

Contributor Notes

Supported in part by the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine Research Development Program.

The authors thank Benjamin Klugh, Christy Meyer, Jorge Garcia-Pratts, and Katherine Henry for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Hernandez (Hernandezj@vetmed.ufl.edu).