Last Updated on June 9, 2022
Knowing the normal temp for a horse is essential to be able to quickly identify any health problems in a horse. All horse owners should learn how to check their horse’s vital signs – temperature, pulse, and respiration rate. Let’s find out everything you need about horse health checks!
Why Are Health Checks Important?
All horse owners and carers should be able to carry out a basic health check of a horse, assessing the temperature, pulse, and respiration (TPR).
The reasons for this are many. Firstly, if the horse appears unwell, we can assess the TPR to gather more information before contacting the veterinarian. This will help them to assess whether your horse needs urgent attention, and they will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
The other reason for carrying out routine health checks is that you then know what the normal TPR is for your horse. This means you can identify subtle changes easily – for example, if your horse normally has a pulse rate of 24 and it increases to 40, this is still within the normal range but you know that it is not normal for your horse.
Routine health checks can also be used to identify health problems before they become too severe. If an infectious disease is known to be in your area, daily temperature checks of your horse mean that you can pick up early signs of infection and treat it accordingly. Regular TPR checks are also useful for horses that have traveled long distances, as they are prone to a respiratory condition called shipping fever.
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What Is The Normal Temp For A Horse?
The normal temp for a horse ranges from between 99–101°F. A high temperature may indicate that the horse is in pain or is suffering from a fever.
How To Check A Horse’s Temperature – Normal Temp For A Horse
To check a horse’s temperature, the best tool to use is a digital rectal thermometer. Ensure the thermometer is clean, and apply a small amount of lubricant such as petroleum jelly.
With an assistant restraining the horse at the head, stand to one side of the hindquarters of the horse. Hold the top of the horse’s tail with one hand, and with the other place the thermometer in the rectum. Keep hold of the thermometer, and press the button to activate the temperature reading.
When the thermometer has taken the reading, it will beep to indicate it can be removed. Take the thermometer out of the horse’s rectum, and check the digital display to read the temperature.
What Is The Normal Pulse Rate For A Horse?
The normal pulse rate for a horse ranges from 28-48 beats per minute.
A high pulse rate in a horse is normal after exercise, but it should quickly return to normal. The heart rate of a horse will also become elevated when they are excited or stressed.
If the pulse rate of a horse is high without any obvious reason, this could indicate that the horse is unwell. An elevated heart rate can indicate that the horse is in pain or suffering from a fever, infection, or dehydration.
How To Check A Horse’s Pulse Rate
The pulse rate of a horse can be measured by feeling the submandibular artery, under the jaw of the horse. Count the beats over 15 seconds, then multiply this by four to obtain the beats per minute.
What Is The Normal Respiration Rate For A Horse?
The normal respiration rate for a horse is between 8 and 14 breaths per minute.
It is normal for the respiration rate of a horse to increase during and after exercise, but it should return to normal once the horse has rested for a few minutes. The respiration rate of a horse will also increase if they are excited.
An elevated respiratory rate can also indicate fever, infection, or respiratory disease.
How To Check A Horse’s Respiration Rate
To check the respiration rate of a horse, observe him while he is at rest from outside the stall or stable. Watch the flanks of the horse closely – as they rise, the horse is taking a breath. Count how many breaths he takes over a 60-second period to obtain the respiration rate.
Summary, Normal Temp For A Horse
So, as we have learned, the normal temp for a horse is between 99–101°F. Knowing the normal temperature, pulse, and respiration rate for your horse can help you to quickly identify if he is unwell. It is a good idea to keep a record of the normal vital signs for your horse.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the normal temp for a horse! Do you find it difficult to take your horse’s temperature? Or maybe you’ve got some questions about what causes the temperature of a horse to change? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
What Is The Average Horse Temperature?
The average horse temperature is between 99–101°F. This can vary throughout the day, and also according to the weather conditions. The temperature of a horse is also different at certain stages of its life.
What Is A High Temperature For A Horse?
A high temperature for a horse is defined as over 101°F, and veterinarians normally diagnose a fever at 102°F. It is important to know the normal healthy temperture of your horse so that any subtle increases are easier to detect.
Can You Use A Human Thermometer For A Horse?
Any type of medical thermometer can be used to take the temperature for a horse, but it is preferable to use one intended for livestock. This is because they have a wider base and a string that can be wrapped around the wrist. These prevent the thermometer from being accidentally dropped on the ground, or disappearing inside the rectum of the horse.
What Causes A Fever In A Horse?
A fever, or high temperature, can be caused by many different disorders. These include inflammation, infection, immune-mediated disease, or cancer. A horse with heatstroke will also have a substantial fever. Diagnosis of the cause of fever requires a full clinical examination as well as diagnostic tests.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse
care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since
she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local
stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She
has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in
various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the
patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went
on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in
the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of
horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for
educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN REVN RVN A1