How to take horse’s temperature?

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A horse’s temperature can be elevated for various reasons and should be monitored. A four-degree rise requires further investigation. To establish an average normal temperature, monitor over several days. Use a veterinary thermometer and lightly lubricate it. Normal temperature range is 99.5°F to 101°F. If significantly elevated, check other vital signs and notify a vet.

Your horse’s temperature is considered one of its most important vital signs, because it indicates some disturbance in its general health. It can be elevated for a variety of reasons and in itself is no cause for alarm.

When your horse is excited, in pain, sick, just finished training, in hot, humid weather, or just young, his temperature can be elevated.
Therefore, a two degree rise alone is not a cause for concern and may only need to be monitored. However, a four degree rise in your horse’s temperature would require further investigation.

It’s important to establish an average normal for your horse before a seizure occurs. It’s best to monitor your horse’s temperature over several days, then once a week to get a good solid average. This exercise will also desensitize your horse of any concern while its temperature is being taken. It is advisable to always make any medical appointment a comfortable and supportive experience for both you and your horse.

Taking your horse’s temperature is a simple procedure. The horse should be tethered or held by an assistant. It is best to use a veterinary thermometer as it is designed to take a long cord and clip to tie at the end. Also, when taking a horse’s temperature, a mercury thermometer is more accurate than a digital one since you will need to insert the thermometer further into the rectum than the instructions for a digital indicate.

Prepare by shaking the thermometer at a temperature below 95°C (35°F). Then lightly lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly at room temperature. It is important not to use too much petroleum jelly as it will insulate the thermometer and you will get an incorrect reading.

Stand to the side of your horse’s rump, facing his tail. Grab the pelvis of its tail and move it to the side. Don’t pull his tail by the hair. Gently insert the thermometer into her anus at a slight upward angle. Then lightly attach the clip to his tail hair and start your timing. During your two to three minute wait, it’s best to stand with your horse to reassure him and keep him comfortable. Once the required cooking time has elapsed, gently remove the thermometer and take the reading. When you’re done, be sure to clean the thermometer with rubbing alcohol before placing it back in the case.

For an adult horse at rest, a normal temperature range is 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit (37.5 degrees Celsius) to 101° F (38° C). If his temperature is over 104°F (40°C), proceed with your investigation and notify your vet. Another indication of a horse’s high temperature would be cold or irregular sweating.
If your horse’s temperature is significantly elevated, it would be good to check his other vital signs such as pulse and respiration so you can give your vet a full report for his evaluation.

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