NORMAL EQUINE VALUES
***Evaluate your horse while healthy so you know his/her normals***
Temperature: 99.5 to 101.5
Pulse (Heart Rate)
Adult 28 – 40 beats per minute (bpm)
Newborn Foal 80 – 120 bpm
Foal 60 – 80 bpm
Yearling 40 – 60 bpm
Respiratory Rate 8 – 16 breaths per minute
Mucous Membranes (gums): Color pink, Moist Capillary Refill less than 2 seconds
Gut Sounds: present in all quadrants of abdomen
To determine the above values:
Temperature- use a digital or large animal thermometer rectally for the time recommended on the thermometer. The temperature may be falsely elevated by environmental heat or exercise. An abnormally low temperature (less than 98.5) may indicate shock or hypothermia and an abnormally elevated temperature (greater than 102) may result from infection, inflammation, pain or overexertion.
Pulse (Heart Rate)- Place your stethoscope or your hand against the horse’s chest behind the left elbow and count the number of heart beats per minute. The pulse can be obtained from several other places, including the angle of the jaw, beneath the base of the tail, behind the carpus or along the back of the pastern. The heart rate may be elevated by many factors, including exercise, stress, pain or shock.
Respiratory Rate- Count the rise and falls of the horse’s chest or watch the nostrils flare.
Mucous Membranes- Evaluated by looking at the horse’s gums (the inside of a mare’s lips of her vulva can also be used for color). Gums should be moist and slippery to the touch, not dry and tacky which may indicate dehydration. Abnormal gum colors are white, brick red or purplish blue and your veterinarian should be notified immediately if these colors are noted. To determine capillary refill, push on the gum with your finger and note how long until the color returns. It should return almost immediately.
Gut Sounds- Place your stethoscope or your ear against the horse’s flank area and listen both high and low on both sides. You should hear several rumbles per minute in all 4 quadrants. Complete silence is a warning sign especially when accompanied with signs of colic.