What Is The Normal Temperature For A Horse? (Correct answer)

Your Horse’s Normal Vital Signs

Temperature 37.5-38.5°C (99-101°F)
Heart rate 36-40 beats per minute
Respiration 8-15 breaths per minute
Mucous Membranes These line the mouth and gums Should be moist with a pink, healthy colour


What is a high temperature for a horse?

“Normal temperature varies in horses, just like in people,” Dreyfuss explained. “An adult’s normal temperature will range from 99 degrees to 101 degrees. Once you get over 101, for most horses, that would be a low-grade fever. For clinical studies, we often define fever as greater than 102 degrees.

What is a bad temperature for a horse?

Extremely high fevers— above 106 degrees —or any fever that goes on for too long can eventually take a physiological toll on a horse. The body uses calories and water to maintain the higher temperature, which over time can lead to weight loss and dehydration.

How do you take a horse’s temperature?


  1. Stand to the near side (left hand side of the horse), close to the horse to avoid being kicked.
  2. Lubricate the end of the thermometer with soapy water.
  3. If using a mercury thermometer gently shake the mercury down to the bottom of the tube.
  4. Lift the tail and gently insert the thermometer into the horse’s rectum.

Is 100.5 considered a fever?

The medical community generally defines a fever as a body temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. A body temp between 100.4 and 102.2 degree is usually considered a low-grade fever. “If the temperature is not high, it doesn’t necessarily need to be treated with medication,” Dr. Joseph said.

Do horses get a fever with colic?

A horse may feel sick, depressed and off his feed for many reasons, including a fever, but a fever may also be a sign of some serious intestinal problem related to colic, like a necrotic, leaking or ruptured bowel.

Can I use a human thermometer on my horse?

Any thermometer used for people can be used for a horse, but it’s helpful to have one specifically designed to be used for livestock, because they come equipped with a string to attach to the horse’s tail. This prevents the thermometer from dropping onto the ground, or from disappearing into the horse’s rectum!

Is 101.5 a fever in horses?

A. For an adult horse, any body temperature at or below 101.5 F is considered normal. Just like humans, equines thermoregulate, which means their bodies maintain a constant internal temperature, regardless of the temperature of the surrounding environment.

Can you use a forehead thermometer on a horse?

However, it is invasive, dangerous and time consuming. Research has investigated the use of human non-contact thermometers on different animal species; however, various studies have shown controversial results. No human device has shown to be reliable for measuring horses’ temperature.

How can you tell if a horse has a temperature without a thermometer?

To estimate your horse’s body temperature without use of a thermometer, use your finger to assess the temperature of the mucous membrane inside the lips, at the corner of the mouth. Compare your estimated reading with a thermometer reading twice on 10 different horses.

Where do you take a horse’s temperature?

To take a horse’s temperature, first tie the horse or have someone hold his head. Stand beside (not in back of) the left hind leg, lift the tail slightly to the side with your left hand, and insert the tip of the thermometer a couple of inches into the rectum with your right hand.

How can you tell a fever from teething?

False Symptoms of Teething Teething does not cause fever, diarrhea, diaper rash or runny nose. It does not cause a lot of crying. It does not cause your baby to be more prone to getting sick.

What causes a 108 degree fever?

Viruses that can cause hyperpyrexia include enterovirus infection, roseola, rubeola, and malaria. Hyperpyrexia is associated with a body temperature of more than 106.7°F or 41.5°C. Typically, treatment for hyperpyrexia focusses on the underlying disease, if one exists.

Is a temperature of 38.2 high?

A high temperature is usually considered to be 38C or above. This is sometimes called a fever. Many things can cause a high temperature, but it’s usually caused by your body fighting an infection.

How Do I Take My Horse’s Temperature?

Dr. Ben Espy, DVM, DACT is the author of this article. The question is, what is a normal temperature for a horse, and how can I determine it? A normal body temperature for an adult horse is 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, whichever is lower. Equines thermoregulate in the same way as people do, which means that their bodies maintain a steady internal temperature independent of the temperature of their surroundings. Even while individual horses’ typical temperatures might vary, it’s only when they’re unwell enough to be in circulatory or septic shock that we have to be concerned about their dropping too low.

Temperatures more than 101.5 degrees, on the other hand, should be taken seriously.

If it remains elevated for an extended period of time, the horse may be suffering from an underlying disease or from anhidrosis, a condition in which horses lose their capacity to cool themselves through sweating, as described above.

It is absolutely painless, and practically all horses are able to accept it with little difficulty.

  • When in doubt, enlist the assistance of one or more experienced horsepeople to complete the task at hand.
  • Thermometers for the mouth and the rectal cavity are nearly identical.
  • The least costly models can read in around 30 seconds, whilst somewhat more expensive ones can read in less than a minute.
  • If he is young, does not stand tethered, or if you do not know him well, ask a friend to hold him while you take his temperature and then repeat the process with him.
  • The fact that you are holding his lead line while taking his temperature makes it far too simple for him to turn in a circle in order to get away from you.
  • In order to be on his left side, hold the thermometer in your right hand; if you are on his right side, hold the thermometer in your left hand.
  • Doing so leaves you in an extremely vulnerable position, as your knees will not be able to bend in response to any kicks or movements he makes unexpectedly in your direction.

Ridiculously raise it to a height that allows your other hand access to the anus.

This will assist him in becoming accustomed to the sensation.

Continue to maintain tight control over the thermometer’s tail and end until the final reading is shown on the dial (consult the manual that comes with the thermometer ahead of time to see exactly how your particular brand indicates this).

When your horse exhibits indications of stress or sickness, you may use this baseline temperature as a point of reference.

A fever-reducing medicine, such as Banamine or phenylbutazone (bute), may be prescribed by your veterinarian over the phone in some situations, depending on the reason of the fever.

(Please keep in mind that, like human children, foals have somewhat higher normal and febrile temperatures than adult horses.) Their baseline temperatures can reach as high as 102 degrees, and they can spike fevers as high as 106 degrees.)) Meanwhile, maintain your horse’s vaccines for influenza (flu) and equine herpesvirus, generally known as rhinopneumonitis or “rhino,” up to date.

  1. Viruses such as the flu and rhinoviruses are the most common cause of high temperatures in adult horses.
  2. Benjamin Espy is an expert in horse reproductive and infertility who has worked at veterinary clinics in Texas and Kentucky for over a decade.
  3. He also serves on the AAEP Board of Directors and the Board of Directors for the American College of Theriogenology, and he is a member of the American Society of Equine Practitioners Owner Education Committee ().
  4. Espy also serves as the liaison for the Texas Equine Veterinary Association and as a veterinarian for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, which takes place every year in March.

An earlier version of this essay appeared in a previous edition of Practical Horsemanmagazine. With permission, this article has been reprinted. In 2016, the original author reviewed the manuscript.

Signs of a Healthy Horse

By Tom Lenz, DVM, M.S., DACTI, veterinary students are taught that in order to detect an ill or lame horse, they must first examine a large number of healthy, sound animals. Horses differ in their health, but there are some markers of general well-being that apply to all of them. A healthy horse’s attitude is one in which he is bright and alert while also showing interest in other horses, you, and their environment. They will roll every now and again, especially after being turned out, but they will always shake off the dust after they have rolled.

  1. Make an appointment with your veterinarian.
  2. The temperature of the horse’s rectal cavity can help to distinguish between dental issues and other causes of difficulty eating.
  3. Anything higher than that amount may indicate the presence of an ongoing infection.
  4. *Eyes and noses- Your horse’s eyes and nose should be clear, completely open, and clean, not hazy or discolored, and his or her mouth should be clean as well.
  5. The nose should be clear of excessive mucous and free of debris.
  6. The weight and physical condition of your horses must be maintained at an optimal level; you should not allow them to become overweight or underweight, since either state can be harmful to their health.
  7. A bodily condition score of 4-5 is considered to be optimal.
  8. Unhealthy coat might indicate malnutrition, parasites or a general lack of health.
  9. It is possible for the horse’s heart and respiratory rates to be somewhat raised when the horse is enthusiastic or when the weather is hot and humid:
  • The horse’s heart rate ranges from 28 to 44 beats per minute, depending on its size. Breathing rate: 10-24 breaths per minute
  • Horse’s mucous membranes: The horse’s gums should be moist and a healthy pink in color. In order for the horse’s capillaries to refill, you must press your finger firmly on his gums for one to two seconds before the horse’s point of pressure returns to a pink hue. Sounds from the intestines: Gurgling sounds, gas-like growls, tinkling sounds, and the occasional roar are all common throughout pregnancy. Colic can be characterized by the absence or diminution of digestive noises.

*Manure and urine- A healthy horse will pass manure eight to 12 times a day. Urine should be wheat-colored and either clear or slightly cloudy. *Hydration- The average horse drinks between five and 10 gallons of water a day, depending on exercise level and weather conditions. *Legs and feet- The horse should stand squarely with its weight evenly distributed over all four feet. Slightly raising and taking the weight off a hind leg is normal, but not for a foreleg. Your horse’s legs should be free of bumps, swelling, cuts or hair loss.

A quick evaluation of your horse can be done in less than 10 minutes.

Article provided courtesy of AAEP Alliance Partner, AQHA.

About the author: Thomas R. Lenz, DVM, M.S., Diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists, is a trustee of the American Horse Council, past chairman of AQHA’s research committee and past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

What’s the Normal Temperature of a Horse? (7 Easy Steps to Take)

The body temperature of your horse, much like that of humans, may tell you a lot about the animal’s overall health. An abnormally high temperature, for example, may indicate an infection, heatstroke, or another dangerous disease. In order to identify when something is wrong with your horse, it is essential for you to understand what is typical for your horse as a horse owner. In order to assist you, we conducted extensive study on horse temperature and created this guide that explains what is normal and what is not in this situation.

Let’s get this party started.

What’s the Normal Temperature of a Horse?

Horses with normal body temperatures often range between 99 and 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit (degrees Celsius). When a healthy foal is born, its body temperature should vary between 99.5° F and 102.1° F. Anything that rises over these levels may be a warning that things is not quite right. Individual horses’ body temperatures can vary, and a horse’s temperature might occasionally record at a lower level than what is considered normal. Low temperatures, however, according to experts, should not be cause for concern.

If the animal is in good health, a low body temperature should not be a reason for concern at all.

Ensure that you contact a veterinarian as soon as your foal’s temperature falls below 98 degrees Fahrenheit.

The temperature of your horse may rise by a few of degrees as a result of strenuous activity or exercise, but it will normally return to normal within an hour or two.

How to Take Your Horse’s Temperature (7 Easy Steps)

Taking your horse’s temperature is a simple procedure that takes only a few simple supplies. All you require is the following:

  • Temperature gauge (digital or mercury)
  • Vaseline/KY Jelly or any other mild lubrication
  • Tissue, cotton wool, and other materials Alcohol for rubbing
  • A pair of latex or rubber gloves
See also:  How To Breed A Horse And A Donkey? (Solved)

Step 1: Wait Until After the Horse Has Passed Stool

The optimum time to check the horse’s temperature is after he or her has had a bowel movement, since this will reduce the risk that you may accidentally enter the thermometer into excrement while checking the temperature. A greater temperature is typically seen in stool, which causes the thermometer to inaccurately depict the animal’s true body temperature when used in conjunction with the stool.

Step 2: Talk to the Horse

You are almost certainly the owner of the horse you are inspecting, and your equine has probably already figured out that you want to check their temperature. If you are taking the temperature of someone else’s horse, or if you are doing this for the first time, you will need to engage with the horse and become comfortable with it. It is also critical that the horse becomes acquainted with you in order to avoid being scared. For example, you can do things like chat calmly to the horse while offering them goodies or rubbing behind their ears; these simple activities will go a far way in helping you and the animal establish a much-needed bond between you.

You should also walk the horse to a post and tie them up securely while you are doing this. This will help to guarantee that they are not moving around excessively when you begin getting their thermometer reading.

Step 3: Examine Your Thermometer

Checking your horse’s body temperature may be done using a digital or mercury thermometer, depending on your preference. If you’re using a digital one, make sure to turn it on first; this will allow you to determine whether or not it is functioning properly. It is necessary to verify if the thermometer’s battery is dead and to replace it if this occurs. Shake the thermometer several times if you are using a mercury thermometer to ensure that the mercury is re-entrained in the bulb. If you do not follow these instructions, the thermometer may give you a misleading reading.

Step 4: Position Yourself for the Job

Keep your distance from the horse, ideally on the mounting side, so that they are not frightened. Then, starting from this stance, go toward the horse’s back while running one hand over their back to keep their attention. It’s vital to remember that horses cannot see straight in front of them, so avoid standing directly in front of them at all costs. Instead, take up a position next to their back leg so that they can see you. They won’t be frightened and will not be kicked out this way. Horse kicks can cause serious injuries or even death if they are not avoided.

Step 5: Hold the Horse’s Tail

With one hand, gently grasp the horse’s tail (near the rump) while holding the thermometer in the other. Lift the tail to a suitable height so that you may have access to the rectus muscle. In order to avoid damaging the animal’s anus, carefully put the edge of the thermometer into the anus. Continue to converse with the horse while you’re at it. They may not love the experience, but they will undoubtedly appreciate a pleasant and calming voice. If the animal clenches its anal muscles, try rotating the thermometer to see if that helps.

It is necessary for the thermometer bulb to be located within the rectum.

When using these approaches, it is recommended to secure the thermometer with a string.

So the best approach to prevent your thermometer from falling into your horse’s anus is to be cautious with how far you push it, rather than attaching a thread to the thermometer itself.

Step 6: Read the Temperature

According on the type of thermometer you are using, once it has finished reading the horse’s temperature, it will either beep (in the case of a digital thermometer) or raise the mercury level in the thermometer’s mercury reservoir (in the case of a mercury thermometer). The waiting period might be anywhere between 30 and 120 seconds, depending on how long it takes for the temperature to stabilize and become steady. After that, carefully draw the thermometer out of the equine’s anus at the same angle at which it was inserted previously.

Take note of the temperature and maintain a record of it for future reference.

If the temperature is higher than normal, wait a few hours before continuing. Take the temperature a second or third time and average it out to get an accurate reading. Things such as dung or a delayed thermometer may occasionally cause the reading to be inaccurate.

Step 7: Clean the Thermometer

Turn off or shake down your thermometer, then give it a thorough cleaning with a clean tissue or cotton wool soaked in rubbing alcohol to wipe it out completely. The thermometer will be cleaned and disinfected as a result. Don’t forget to clean the thermometer of any feces that may have become adhered to it.

Factors Affecting Horse Temperature

When it comes to horses, their typical body temperature will range between 99° F and 101.5° F, although this figure may change somewhat depending on two primary factors: first, their activity level. Weather conditions: When the weather is very hot or cold, your horse’s body temperature may rise or fall somewhat. However, because equines thermoregulate, the fluctuations in temperature are typically minimal or non-existent. The temperature of your horse should not rise over 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.

Some activities can even elevate the temperature of the animal to as high as 105° F.

When to Contact Your Vet

The presence of a high fever in your horse that does not decrease within a few hours should be cause for concern, and you should get your horse assessed by a veterinarian as soon as possible. If your horse is exhibiting additional symptoms such as lack of energy, loss of appetite, lack of sleep, or other signs of illness, they should be examined as well. Another situation in which veterinary assistance may be required is when the thermometer is mistakenly inserted into the equine’s rectum. Unharmed, a veterinarian will securely evaluate the depth of the hole and remove it without injuring the animal.

The Takeaway

Checking your horse’s temperature on a regular basis might help you recognize when something is amiss and when it is necessary to contact a veterinarian. The good news is that You are not required to pay someone to complete this task for you. As long as you have a digital thermometer in your equestrian care equipment, you will be able to efficiently monitor the core temperature of your horse. All you have to do is grab the thermometer and place it into the animal’s anus to get a reading. It’s as simple as pie.

Normal Horse Body Temperature, Vital Signs, & Health Indicators

The majority of people are familiar enough with their own bodies’ processes to recognize when the signs and symptoms indicate that something is awry. For example, a high temperature may suggest the presence of a fever. In order to properly care for your horse’s health, it’s critical that you recognize the same indicators that other horse owners are aware of. Horses are unable to communicate verbally, thus it is up to you to determine whether there is an issue that requires your attention.

In order to assist you, this article will cover your horse’s body temperature, as well as various other vital indications that may provide you with insight into your horse’s health and present state of affairs.

What’s the Average Body Temperature of a Horse

The temperature of your horse’s body may tell you a lot about how well they’re doing. It might be a symptom of bad health, signaling to you that you should seek medical attention. Your horse’s temperature should be between 99 and 101 degrees Fahrenheit on average, despite the fact that it will fluctuate somewhat. Veterinary attention is required if the temperature of your horse rises beyond 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is a Horse’s Body Temperature Always Consistent?

Even in the case of a healthy horse, the body temperature might fluctuate by up to three degrees Celsius. Exercise, stress, excitement, and warm weather are just a few of the environmental elements that might cause variations in your horse’s body temperature, including hot weather. It’s reasonable to expect your horse’s temperature to be somewhat elevated if you know that he’s been working hard recently. Nonetheless, it is essential to be careful and retest as soon as possible. If your pet has a persistent temperature of 102 degrees or above, you should take him to the veterinarian.

What’s the Best Way to Take a Horse’s Temperature?

With horses, the most precise approach to measure their temperature is with a rectum thermometer, which is the most commonly used type. You may get them in pharmacies or, in the best case scenario, at a tack store. Ensure that the thermometer does not get lost inside your horse by tying a long thread to the end of the thermometer’s probe. Even if it appears to be impossible, it is a very real option that you will not like dealing with in any way. Plastic thermometers are the most reliable options, while digital thermometers are often the quickest and most convenient to use.

How to Take a Horse’s Temperature

Before attempting to take your horse’s temperature, either tie them up or have someone else keep them still while you do so. Also, keep in mind that certain horses will not be pleased with this procedure. Instead of standing immediately behind the horse, you can consider standing to the side of the horse rather than directly behind it. To begin, lubricate the thermometer with mineral oil. Vaseline or petroleum jelly can be used as a moisturizer. Then, relocate the tail to the side of the horse so that it is no longer in the way.

Make sure to keep the thermometer in position until the reading is accurate.

Be careful to clean and sanitize the thermometer after you have taken your horse’s temperature before putting it away.

If you use a horse thermometer, you don’t want to transfer bacteria and disease to other horses.

Other Important Horse Vital Signs

While the temperature of your horse’s body might provide you with a strong indicator of his current health, it is by no means the only sign you should be looking for.

Many more vital signs can provide you with further insights into your horse’s health, helping you to identify and treat diseases and health concerns early on, before they have a chance to become serious problems.


Equines have pulses that are similar to human pulses in that they are a good predictor of their health. It’s possible that a horse’s heart rate is abnormally high because he’s in bodily trouble, enthusiastic, frightened, or in pain. Elevated heart rates can be caused by physical activity and heat. Furthermore, some disorders might cause your horse’s heart rate to increase, providing a strong indicator that there is an issue that needs to be addressed further. The heart rate of an adult horse should be between 30 and 40 beats per minute on average.

Horses that are younger in age have naturally greater heart rates.

Yearlings have heart rates that range between 45 and 60 beats per minute.

Breathing Rate

It is possible that the amount of breaths your horse takes per minute is an indicator of their health. Adult horses breathe at an average rate of 8-15 breaths per minute, depending on their size. Horses that are younger will take more breaths than horses that are older. Naturally, hot temperatures and physical activity can cause a horse’s respiratory rate to increase somewhat. A rapid breathing rate, on the other hand, may indicate the presence of additional problems. If you notice that your horse is breathing fast, you should call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

If you’re not comfortable with that, you can count breaths by observing or feeling the expansion of your horse’s ribcage with each breath.

Make certain that you count each inhalation and exhalation as a separate breath during the exercise.

Gut Noises

The stomach and intestines of your horse are continually gurgling and producing noise. To the contrary, if the stomach is silent, it typically indicates a larger risk of developing a medical condition than when the gut is producing a lot of noise. Even if you don’t hear any sounds coming from your horse’s stomach, you should contact your veterinarian right once since it might be an indication of colic. It’s simple to pay attention to your horse’s instincts. You may just push your ear against the horse’s body, just below the final rib, to get this effect.

See also:  What Is A Charlie Horse? (TOP 5 Tips)

Make sure to check both sides of the coin.

If you are listening for gut noises and do not hear any sounds at first, you may want to consider enlisting the assistance of a stethoscope. You should consult with your veterinarian if you are still hearing nothing through the stethoscope after a few minutes.


horses consume an amazing quantity of water, making it possible for them to get dehydrated in a relatively short period of time. Depending on its level of activity, an adult horse will consume between 5 and 12 gallons of water per day, on average. For horses that are having trouble drinking water, you may try adding in something delicious like Gatorade or apple juice to get them to drink. If the situation persists, you’ll need to consult with your veterinarian for more assistance. There are various methods for determining whether or not your horse is dehydrated.

Simply squeeze the skin on the back of your horse’s neck and hold it for a few seconds to release the pressure.

Dehydration will cause a wrinkle or fold to emerge on the skin of a dehydrated horse, which will dissipate in around five seconds.


Adult horses have a body temperature that ranges between 99 and 101 degrees Fahrenheit on average. Anything beyond this level necessitates a visit to the veterinarian. However, the temperature of your horse is not the sole measure of his or her health. Check their heart rate and breathing rate to make sure they are healthy. Additionally, keep an ear out for gastrointestinal sounds and make sure your horse is well hydrated. If all of these factors are in agreement, your horse is most likely healthy.

Normal Vital Signs and Health Indicators – The Horse

The ability to recognize and assess a horse’s normal, healthy resting temperature, heart rate, respiration (breathing) rate, and other vital signs is critical for any horse owner. It is also important that the horse be educated to allow handling for the purpose of assessing vital signs. Watch our video tutorial on how to take your horse’s vital signs for further information. Please contact your veterinarian if your horse’s resting vital signs do not fall within the usual limits listed below to determine what could be wrong.

  1. To discover more about the horse’s vital indicators, you may click on any spot on the horse.
  2. Learn about the many types of eye problems.
  3. If you observe a greenish, yellowish, or white “snotty” discharge, call your veterinarian right once.
  4. Moisturizing and pink mucous membranes that coat the inside of the mouth and gums are ideal.
  5. 10-24 breaths per minute is considered to be a normal respiratory rate.
  6. This should come across as unambiguous.
  7. Dehydration is indicated by a prolonged period of time.
  8. To listen to the horse’s heart, place a stethoscope immediately behind the elbow in the girth region on the left side of the horse’s chest.
  9. 2 pencil), which is on the bottom side of the jaw where it crosses the bone, if you don’t have a stethoscope available.
  10. Read on to find out more Tendons and ligaments are robust, strong bands of soft connective tissue—collagen-rich materials that hold diverse bodily parts together.
  11. In contrast to ligaments, which connect bones to other bones, tendon connects muscles to bones.

Read on to find out more Photo courtesy of HorseScience.com Even though it’s difficult to define the “ideal” hoof, a horse’s feet should be balanced, with a straight hoof-pastern angle (a straight line down the front of the pastern and hoof wall), easy breakover (the toe is not too long and is squared, rounded, or rolled to allow for easier movement), adequate heel support (if shod, the shoe extends to the end of the hoof wall to support the back of the leg to the heels), and Keep an eye out for a bounding digital pulse (the pulse that can be felt in the digital arteries at the rear of the fetlock), which might suggest laminitis in the horse.

  • Read on to find out more Check the condition of your horse’s body by seeing and manually examining the fat that covers his ribs, shoulder, withers, loin, tailhead, and neck areas.
  • Download Score for Physical Condition PosterIllustration: Robin Peterson, Director of Visual Media and Learning Listen to your horse’s stomach noises by pressing your ear or, better yet, a stethoscope on both sides of the belly, high and low, on both sides of the horse’s abdomen.
  • Silence for an extended period of time shows an anomaly and may imply colic.
  • A modest amount of liquid consumed either shortly prior to or soon after a bowel movement is likewise considered normal.
  • You may take your horse’s rectal temperature using an electronic thermometer that has been dipped into lubricant for added convenience.

Make certain that the thermometer is securely fastened to the tail or that a rope linked to the thermometer is clipped to the tail. How to take your horse’s temperature in this video

Temperature, Pulse and Respiration in a Horse – Extension Horses

Every horse owner or caretaker should be familiar with the fundamental physiological characteristics of temperature, pulse, and respiration (TPR) if he or she want to offer good care for a horse. Keeping track of these three vital signs is extremely essential and may be highly beneficial to both you and your doctor when you suspect your horse is unwell. Having a basic understanding of the usual readings for these three vital signs can give valuable insight into your horse’s physiological condition.

Normal TPR

To determine whether or not your horse’s TPR levels are abnormal, you must first understand what is considered normal. Although the usual heart rate for most horses is 32 to 36 beats per minute, some horses have lower heart rates, such as 24 beats per minute, or significantly higher heart rates, such as 40 beats per minute, depending on the breed. You’ll need a thermometer, a stethoscope, and a watch with a second hand or one that counts the seconds to complete this task successfully. In order to get an accurate reading, a digital thermometer should be used because it requires significantly less time and is more versatile than a glass mercury thermometer.

You may use a tiny clamp or clothespin to secure the string to the horse’s tail, and then leave it in place until the temperature can be determined.

These thermometers are available for purchase at any pharmacy shop.

The heartbeat may be heard and the heart rate (pulse) and respiration rate can be determined with a cheap stethoscope that can be obtained at a pharmacy or equestrian supply store.


Most horses may have their rectal temperature measured with no difficulty by putting a tiny quantity of lubricant (petroleum jelly) on the thermometer. When approaching a horse from the side, be careful not to stand directly behind the horse in case it decides to kick. Bring the horse’s tail up or move it, and then place the thermometer into the anus. There is a ring on the top of thermometers that are intended for use with animals. It is possible to link this ring to a string, with a clip being attached to the other end of the string.

The usual rectal temperature of a horse is 99.5 to 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit (37.5 to 38.6 degrees Celsius).

Newborn foals are susceptible to hypothermia (low body temperature), thus if the foal’s temperature is less than 98.0°F (36.6°C), contact your veterinarian immediately for assistance.

If the horse’s rectal temperature is higher than usual, it is suffering from a fever rather than a temperature. Everyone’s horse has a temperature, which can be either above normal (fever) or below normal (hypothermia), or it might be normal.


Although the heart rate may be measured without the use of a stethoscope, it is much easier to do so with one. The facial artery, which is located on the bottom side of the jaw in a shallow groove under the final cheek tooth, can be used if a stethoscope is not readily available. The heart rate is calculated by counting the number of beats for 15 seconds and multiplying the total number of beats by four to get the beats per minute. Keep in mind that any enthusiasm displayed by the horse will result in an increase in heart rate.

Each sound produced by the heart is regarded as a single beat.

The heart rate of a foal varies depending on its age.

Foals with heart rates ranging from 60 to 80 beats per minute when they are a few weeks to a few months old will be considered young.


Watching the horse’s chest move in and out (a horse’s inhale and exhale are considered one breath) or feeling the air flow out of the nostrils are two ways to measure respiration. When the horse inhales and exhales, the stethoscope may be used to listen to the air moving over the trachea, which is where the breaths are heard. It is also important to observe the peculiarities of the respiratory system. Is the sound intelligible? How long are the breaths taking place? Are they shallow or deep? Are there any strange sounds linked with the respiration, such as squeaking or crackling?

Newborn foals breathe at rates ranging from 60 to 80 breaths per minute when they are born.

It’s important to remember that if your horse or foal becomes aroused for whatever reason, the respiratory rate may momentarily increase.

Capillary Refill Time

The color of the mucous membranes, or gums, is another indicative of health. Healthy horses have pink gums that are moist to the touch and have a lovely shine to their coats. Capillary filling time may be determined by pushing your finger firmly on the gum above the front incisors and swiftly releasing it from the area. The amount of time it takes for the region to convert from white to pink again is referred to as the capillary refill time. The average replenishment time is around 2 seconds.

Knowing your horse’s usual vital signs and being able to take its vital signs in an emergency will considerably boost the chances of your horse surviving a major sickness or injury.

Help us improve our site!

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Please take a moment to complete our survey so that we may continue to improve our website. Thank you for your time. Fill out the survey right away. Craig Wood is a professor at the University of Kentucky.

Horse Vital Signs Part 1 – What Is My Horse’s Normal Temperature? – KPP

This is the first in a four-part series on “Horse Vital Signs.” When your horses are at rest, check their vital signs to see if they are within typical ranges of performance.

A cool fact about your horse’s temperature:

Thermoregulation refers to the ability of horses to maintain a consistent internal body temperature regardless of how hot or cold the environment around them is. The temperature of a horse might go excessively high or remain raised for an extended length of time, which can have a severe influence on their health.

What’s normal?

The typical body temperature of an adult horse is between 98 and 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperature is 100°F. Aslight fever is characterized by a temperature that is two or three degrees higher than your horse’s usual temperature. A high fever is defined as a temperature that is three or more degrees higher than your horse’s usual temperature. If your horse’s temperature rises beyond 106°F, he or she is suffering from a severe fever. Make an appointment with your veterinarian. A foal that is less than one month old will have a typical temperature range between 100°F and 102°F in its first month of life.

Low temperatures are only a concern when a horse is suffering from circulatory shock or septic shock, respectively.

Because of their reduced body mass and undeveloped thermoregulatory system, foals are more susceptible to hypothermia than other horses.

What can cause a high temperature?

A horse’s body temperature may rise a few of degrees during strenuous activity, but this is not regarded an emergency as long as the temperature returns to normal within 90 minutes after stopping labor. Heat stress or heat stroke can develop in horses who are unwell, working, being hauled, or otherwise stressed under hot, humid weather. Heat stress or heat stroke can be fatal in horses. Temperatures can go as high as 105°F to 107°F. Among the other signs and symptoms include a quick pulse, panting, stumbling and weakness, as well as dry skin and dehydration.

If you have a high temperature of this magnitude, get veterinarian assistance right once.

It is possible that the fever is just an immunological reaction to the vaccination, or that it is an indication that an infection is developing at the injection site.

A increase in body temperature can occur as a result of illness or infection.

Unexpectedly high temperatures should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian as soon as they occur.

Vital Signs

It is important for every horse owner to know his or her horse’s normal resting temperature, heart rate, and respiration (breathing) rate and to have trained their horse to stand quietly while the information is collected. Trying to learn during the stress of dealing with an injured or sick horse can prove difficult. Challenge yourself to take your horse’s vitals once a week, this will make you and your horse comfortable with the procedure and help you learn what is normal. Remember, when trying to determine if your horse is within the normal range, many factors can cause values to increase in a healthy horse, including high heat and humidity,excitement, and exercise.If you are uncertain if a value is normal, contact your veterinarian.
See also:  What Does A Horse Represent? (Solution found)

If you want assistance, please contact Dr. McCleery at your next well horse visit; she will be pleased to spend some time with you to teach you the fundamentals!


Learn how to take the temperature of your horse. It will help you become more comfortable with the operation while also educating you on what is usual. A fever in a horse can be the first sign of illness for many communicable illnesses, and it can occur as early as the first day of illness. The usual body temperature of a horse is 99 to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit, yet the temperature of a healthy horse might fluctuate by 3 degrees depending on ambient circumstances. Although a high fever does not usually signify a serious ailment, we urge that you take your horse to the veterinarian if his or her temperature is higher than 102°F.

  1. The temperature of a horse is obtained via the rectus muscle.
  2. The horse should be tethered or, better yet, held by an assistance who is standing on the same side as you are working on it.
  3. Positioning the horse’s tail to the side and out of the way, and putting the thermometer inside the horse’s rectum with the needle tilted slightly towards the ground.
  4. Do not stand precisely behind the horse since some horses do not like this and may kick out – but the majority of horses do not like this at all.

Heart Rate

Normally, the heart rate ranges between 28 and 44 beats per minute. Fever, stress, excitement, activity, or pain may all cause a horse’s heart rate to increase, making it a particularly crucial piece of information when attempting to evaluate whether or not a horse is suffering from moderate depression or is genuinely in severe condition. The greater the increase in heart rate, the more serious the situation. Learn how to take your pulse. Listening to the heart may be done with a stethoscope, which can be found on the left side of the chest, right behind the left elbow.

Keep an eye out to make sure you are not counting heartbeats twice (lub-dub=one beat).


Horses breathe at a pace of between 8 and 12 breaths per minute, which is considered normal. In addition, the features of breathing might be symptoms of a problem, such as deep heavy breathing, flared nostrils, abdominal exertion while breathing, strange noises when breathing, laborious breathing, extended neck and/or gasping, among others. When you phone the veterinarian, make sure to mention any observations that are anything other than calm and easy breathing. How to calculate your respiratory rate.

One breath is comprised of one inhalation and one exhalation (not as two).

Allowing your horse to sniff your hand while measuring respiration rate might result in a falsely exaggerated number of breaths per minute measured (they will sniff far more quickly than their regular breathing rates).

Your Horse’s Normal Vital Signs

Every horse owner should be aware of and be able to monitor their horse’s typical, healthy vital signs in order to keep their horse in good health. The usual ranges for a healthy horse are depicted in the table below. Please keep in mind that severe situations, such as extremely hot temperatures, may cause your horse’s range to be altered. These figures are for regular, healthy horses at rest and should not be relied upon. Exercise, as well as feelings of fear, worry, and excitement, may all cause a rise in body temperature as well as heart and respiratory rates.


These line the mouth and gums
Should be moist with a pink, healthy colour

Capillary Refill Time

The time taken for capillaries in the gums to return to the healthy pink colour when pressed with a finger.
2 seconds or less

Gut Sounds

A mixture of grumbles, tinkling and roars. There is no rhythm but you should hear a sound every few seconds.


If you pinch your horse’s skin it should return to lying flat within 1-2 seconds. The longer the skin stays pinched up before flattening, the more dehydrated the horse is.

We recommend that all horse owners get familiar with the ‘typical’ symptoms that their horses exhibit while in their care. Comparing established typical readings to periods when you feel anything odd is occurring might be beneficial for both you and your veterinarian when assessing whether or not veterinary treatment is necessary. Detailed instructions on how to check the vital signs of your horse.

Know your horse’s vital signs

02.10.20 Everyone who owns, rides, or otherwise interacts with horses should be familiar with their horse’s vital signs. These basic examinations will assist you in determining whether or not your horse is healthy and whether or not you will need to contact the veterinarian. When you are able to communicate these simple but critical factors to your veterinarian during an emergency (which frequently occurs when you must provide information over the phone), you will receive more accurate and appropriate care for your horse.

Writing them down in a journal and keeping track of the horse’s behavior and general health may be a good idea.


Rectal temperature taking is the most accurate method for taking the horse’s temperature. Keep a digital thermometer made of plastic in your first aid kit. They are safe, simple to use, reasonably priced, and readily accessible at most pharmacies. They are activated by pushing a button on the side of the device. All you have to do is grease the horse’s rectum with petroleum jelly (Vaseline) and place the thermometer inside it. Always thoroughly clean the thermometer before putting it back into its case.

  • When taking a precise measurement, it may take one to three minutes; however, many digital thermometers take readings rapidly and beep when they are finished.
  • Note: To prevent the thermometer from being dislodged in your horse, tie a piece of string to the handle end and secure it with an alligator clip.
  • In warm weather, horses’ body temperatures tend to be higher than normal.
  • This is why it is critical to take your horse’s temperature several times and in a variety of conditions so that you can determine what is normal.
  • Viral infections can result in either early subnormal temperatures (akin to the shivers one gets with a viral cold) or extremely raised temperatures (41-42°C) in a short period of time.

When you are concerned about a suspected sickness in your horse, you should take his temperature twice a day and search for patterns and differences.

The Pulse

The horse’s pulse can be collected from a number of locations, including the area under the jaw, beneath the tail at its bone, and the side of the horse’s foot, among others. By placing your palm or stethoscope on the left (near) side of your horse’s chest beneath the elbow, you may perform the easiest and most efficient examination. (If you are unable to locate the pulse, your veterinarian will be pleased to demonstrate.) Because most horses will not stand still long enough to count heartbeats for a full minute, count for 15 seconds and multiply the results by four instead.

  • When you take your pulse, you are measuring the pace and intensity of your heartbeat.
  • Although horses’ maximum heart rates can surpass 180 beats per minute, a rate more than 80 should be regarded dangerous in the majority of horses that do not exercise.
  • The horse’s heart rate will be elevated by physical activity, tension, fear, pain, and excitement.
  • Colic or intestinal discomfort is the most prevalent cause of an increased heart rate in children.
  • The strength or power of the horse’s pulse might be a sign of other issues that are present in the animal.
  • When a horse has been exercising and is pumping a lot of blood to transport oxygen to functioning muscles, a strong, powerful pulse can be felt.
  • Being aware of your horse’s typical heart rate and pulse quality enables you to draw comparisons in order to analyze conditions and gauge his or her response to them.
  • This statistic is the single most accurate predictor of horse fitness available on the market.


At rest, the average respiration rate of a mature horse is 8-15 breaths per minute, depending on the breed. The rate of respiration of a horse increases in hot or humid weather, during exercise, during fever, and during pain. Rapid breathing while at rest should be treated by a veterinarian, and it is important to remember that the respiration rate should never exceed the heart rate. In addition, a horse’s inhalation and exhalation times should be equal. You should wait at least 30 minutes after work before monitoring the respiratory rate at rest to obtain a realistic measurement.

Always count one inhalation and one exhalation as one breath (not as two).

If you are having problems seeing the ribcage move, try monitoring the horse’s nostrils or position your palm in front of the nostrils to feel the horse exhale.

Using a stethoscope to listen to the horse’s breathing is a much better method than using a traditional method. This will also produce strange sounds if the horse’s windpipe is blocked by mucous, or if he has allergies or heaves, as well as other conditions.

Gut sounds

Gut noises produced by your horse’s stomach and intestines can provide extremely valuable information to your veterinarian, which he or she can use to identify an ailment. Gut noises should be present at all times. The lack of gut noises, rather than the presence of excessive gut sounds, is a more reliable indicator of a problem. In most cases, the absence of stomach sounds suggests the presence of colic. If you are unable to detect any sounds, contact your veterinarian immediately. Put your ear up to the barrel of your horse, right behind his final rib, and listen.

Make sure to listen to the stomach noises on both sides.


Horses need drink a minimum of 20 litres of water every day in order to be considered healthy. If your horse is dehydrated, it is critical that you encourage him to drink as much as possible. If he continues to refuse to drink water, try flavoring it (molasses or cordial are excellent choices), and consult your veterinarian if he still refuses to drink. Horses should drink significantly more when the weather is hot and humid. In these conditions, a horse in racing preparation may consume up to 70 litres of water every day.

How to do a pinch test is as follows: Pinch the skin around the neck of your horse.

Otherwise, it indicates that he is dehydrated as a result of not drinking enough water.

Capillary refill time (CRT)

It is the amount of time it takes for blood to return to blanched tissues in the gums, which is measured as Capillary Refill Time (CRT). This is a measure of the flow of blood in the body. The normal replenishment time ranges between 1 and 2 seconds. Checking the CRT is as follows: Then, for 2 seconds, lift your horse’s top lip and firmly push your thumb on his gums to leave a white mark on his gums. After releasing the pressure on the white mark, it should revert to its regular pink color within 1-2 seconds of being released.

Mucous membrane

The mucous membranes of a horse’s eyelids, gums, and the inside of his nostrils are all lined with mucous membranes. The color of the mucous membranes is another sign of the flow of blood through the body. The gums of a healthy horse are somewhat paler than the gums of a healthy person. As soon as you see your horse’s gums are very pale or bright red, greyish blue, or brilliant yellow, take him to the vet straight away! Mucous membranes are a variety of colors. Moist pink indicates a normal and healthy circulation.

Toxicity or moderate shock are indicated by expanded capillaries, which are bright red.

Bright yellow: This color is associated with liver issues.

Always seek the counsel of your veterinarian as soon as possible rather than later, since the sooner a veterinarian can inspect your horse, the more time they will have to address the problem if it is caught early.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.