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Monitoring Your Horse’s Health with Regular Temperature, Pulse and Respiration Readings

Knowing your horse’s normal body temperature, respiration rate and pulse is important in helping to determine whether or not your horse is experiencing health issues. While there is a normal range of values for these bodily functions, you should check your horse over several days and at different times of the day in order to determine what is normal for your particular horse. 

Generally speaking, the normal ranges for each are as follows:

  • Pulse: 28 to 45 beats per minute, with the double “lub dub” counted as one full beat.
  • Respiration: 8 to 20 breaths per minute
  • Temperature: 98.5 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit (36.9 to 38.3 degrees Celsius)

Keep in mind that outside factors can affect these readings. For example, you may see a slight increase in your horse’s internal temperature if it is a very hot day. Similarly, if your horse is anticipating a treat or if it is near mealtime, you may see a slight increase in respiration and pulse. Your horse’s level of stress at the time can also affect these readings. This is why getting several readings over a period of time is the best way to get a true idea of what is “normal” for your horse.

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