This will be a series of educational posts you can use to get to know your horse a little better. I am not talking about your horse’s mind or personality, I mean you should know things like his weight, what the normal gastrointestinal tract sounds like, what the normal range is for temperature, heart rate and respiration. This information will help you to recognize when there may be a problem. The first thing your doctor does when you visit is to take your weight and vital signs. Your results are compared to a “normal” range (looking for anything that might be above or below what is considered normal or healthy). A record is created, this becomes a historical record of what is normal for you and comparisons are made each time you visit so your doctor can watch for trends and changes that might indicate a potential health issue or concern. I believe that a horse owner can avoid some serious health issues and recognize a problem early by being proactie by keeping records and checking vital signs, comparing them to the prior normal’s for their horse. These posts will cover the list of items below and will explain how to check them, and we will give you the values which are considered the normal range (note that there will be some variation in the normal vaues depending on age, breed, condition, etc.)
Here are some of the things you want to know about hour horse
- Body Weight
- Body Condition
- Respiratory Rate
- Heart Rate
- Color and feel of the gums plus the capillary refill time
- Digital Pulse on all 4 feet and hoof temperature
- Gut Sounds
Knowing how to obtain this information from your horse can also be a great help to you when consulting with your veterinarian if you think there may be a health problem. Providing this information during your call to set up an appointment may help him/her determine if the situation is an emergency or not.
These posts will cover one item at a time so watch for the post next week.
Written by Susan Boyd, edited by Zachary Franklin, DVM