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Recognizing Signs of Heat Stroke in Your Horse

During the hot Arizona summers, heat stroke is a very real concern. Unfortunately, het stroke can happen any time your horse is exposed to excessive heat. Therefore, even when taking all of the necessary precautions, there is always the risk that the heat will be more than the horse’s body can handle. For this reason, it is important to know how to recognize the signs of heat stroke so you can get the necessary medical attention right away.

Generally speaking, signs of heat stroke include:

  • Excessive sweating or lack of sweating
  • Elevated heart rate that does not return to normal within a reasonable amount of time
  • Persistent temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Lethargy and/or depression

To be better able to recognize the signs of heat stroke, it is helpful to have a normal baseline reading of your horse’s vitals. Therefore, you should record your horse’s normal heart rate, temperature and respiratory rate at a time when it is clearly not experiencing any issues. To found your horse’s heart rate, simply find a pulls and count the number of beats for 15 seconds and then multiply by four. The respiratory rate can be calculated in the same way by counting breaths.

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