SUCCEED® Blog:

Where #SeriousHorsePeople come to better understand digestive health in horses and its impact and management.

4-Minute Tutorial On Taking Your Horse's Vital Signs

Taking your horse’s vital signs is one of those basic horsemanship skills every horse person ought to know. This knowledge will help you to identify whether something is off with your horse’s health, and when it’s time to call the vet.

Bay Area Equestrian Network has put together these awesome short, funny, and informative videos showing you how to check your horse’s vital signs. They’ll also let you know if your horse’s vitals are within normal ranges.

Take the quick, four-minute tutorial on taking horse’s vital signs:

Temperature, Hydration, Mucosal Membrane, Capillary Refill

Newsletter Logo

Pulse

Quick Tips on Taking Horses’ Vital Signs

Temperature

Use a thermometer in your horse’s rectum to check for normal body temperature.

  • Normal temp: 99.5-101
  • Call the vet: 102-104

Hydration

Pinch the skin at the base of the neck to see how quickly it returns to normal, or if it stays “tented” for a few seconds indicating dehydration.

  • Normal: skin snaps back right away
  • Call the vet: skin stays up for a few seconds

Mucosal Membrane

Look for healthy coloration of your horse’s gums.

  • Normal: pink
  • Call the vet: pale, yellowish, red

Capillary Refill Time

Press against your horse’s gums for several seconds and see how long it takes for the spot to go from white back its normal color.

  • Normal: color should refill in less than 3 seconds
  • Call the vet: 5 or more seconds to regain color

Pulse

Use your fingers along the jaw line or a stethoscope behind the elbow to check your horse’s heart rate.

  • Normal: 36 bpm (may be slightly elevated due to fear or nervousness)

Check your horse’s vital signs on a regular basis. Familiarize yourself with what is normal for your horse. That way, if something is wrong you will be able to spot it more quickly.

As always, consult with your vet if you notice anything unusual. And you can even ask him or her to help walk you through checking your horse’s vital signs the next time out. A more educated owner is a better owner all around.

Leave a Comment:

Related Articles:

+
Diagnosing and Managing Enteritis in Horses

Introduction to Enteritis in Horses Enteritis is the inflammation of the small intestine. While most commonly associated with bacterial infection, Enteritis often involves both non-infectious and infectious diseases. (Page et al., 2014.) Enteritis is of […]

+
SUCCEED for Long-Term Equine GI Support

SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program supports your horse’s entire gastrointestinal system, especially the often ignored hindgut. Your horse’s hindgut represents 85% of its gastrointestinal system. That makes the hindgut a critical part of the horse’s overall […]

+
Keeping Ulcers at Bay in Barrel Horses

Here’s what you need to know about recognizing and managing ulcers in barrel horses, or in any high-stress competition horse across disciplines. Equine Ulcer Symptoms Vary Widely The obvious clinical signs of a digestive health […]

+
The Owner’s Guide to the Microbiota in Horse Health & Disease

We’re currently undergoing a surge of interest in healthy “gut bacteria” and its impact on overall wellness in both the human and horse worlds. These markets continue to explode with new research on the far-reaching […]

+
Professor Knottenbelt Discusses Equine GI Diagnostics [Video]

The SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test (FBT) is a rapid field test that supports your vet’s diagnosis of digestive tract conditions in horses. A research team at the University of Glasgow vet school is using […]

+
Professional Strategies for Healthy Horse Transport

If you’ve ever been on the end of a lead rope trying to coax a balking horse up into a horse trailer, you’ve witnessed firsthand the effects of stress on your horses. Sure, that trailer […]

horses nutritional needs

FREE eBook:

Nutrition for Horses

Three factors for evaluating
your horse’s nutritional needs.

DOWNLOAD NOW