Featured Image Credit: Palmetto Carriage Works
Giving horses beer is an old trick that is still used today to treat horses suffering from anhidrosis. What is anhidrosis? Anhidrosis is a disease that causes horses to not be able to sweat. By not being able to sweat, the horses cannot cool down their muscles and internal organs. The muscles are burning energy and creating more heat than the horse can release. This can put the horses in danger of heat strokes.
The horses that have anhidrosis typically pant and have a higher body temperature after working. This is somewhat common for horses that live in hot and tropical weather, like Charleston. Up to about 25% of horses living in hot climates suffer from anhidrosis.
A horse can sweat double the rate that people can!
Many factors contribute to how well the horse’s systems work to regulate their body temperature. The more fit the horse becomes the more efficiently they use the energy. By using this energy efficiently they produce less heat. Acclimation is a huge part of how well their system works as well. It takes about 10-14 days for horses to adapt to a change in climate.
At Palmetto Carriage Works, they give their horses the prescribed medication but also give the horses some beer. This usually consists of 2 beers in the morning and two at night. Must be nice! They typically supply their horses with Yuengling Black and Tan which is mixed into their food.
Robert J. MacKay, BVSc, Ph.D., DACVIM, a professor at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine says “I generally recommend that people give the beer to me. It will work just as well,”
Just like us, horses actually like different types of beer. Some prefer light beer and others prefer beers with a thicker consistency. However, they don’t get as drunk off beer as we might! Horses livers are pretty large and they are able to metabolize alcohol faster.
The carriage horses are well taken care of and are given regular temperature readings.