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Your Horses Health


Owner Should Remember Normal Vital Signs For A Horse


By Bob Keating


STILLWATER--When a horse looks or acts sick, it's important for an owner to be able to know for sure.

A horse owner should remember the normal figures for a horse's key vital signs of temperature, breathing rate and resting heart rate, advises Bruce Peverley, Oklahoma State University area Extension livestock specialist at Claremore. He says knowledge important to have includes: A horse's normal rectal body temperature is approximately 100.5 degrees F. A temperature of 102 degrees F or higher generally indicates an infection, which needs attention.

Normal breathing rate for a horse at rest is 12-15 breaths per minute. Breathing rate can be determined by watching the nostrils or flank. Rapid, shallow breathing at rest means a horse needs medical attention.

Normal resting heart rate for a horse is 35-40 beats per minute. The rate will increase when a horse is excited or exercising. A resting heart or pulse rate of 50 or higher means the horse is in physical distress. Heart rate can be determined by monitoring it at the artery that crosses under the jaw, or by feeling the heart beat by putting your hand under the horse's left elbow, Peverley advises.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Oklahoma State University for allowing us to provide you with this information.


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