Do you know your horse’s vital signs?

Monitoring vital signs is a way for you to keep track of the health status of your horse. A change in vital signs can be an early warning sign of illness, as well as a red alert in an emergency. There are differences among individuals and in different situations, so it is important to measure vital signs on a regular basis to get an idea of what is normal for your particular horse.

Vital SignNormalVariances
Temperature:99 to 101.5°F  In winter, temperature can be as low as 97 degrees F
Heart Rate: 28 – 42 beats per minutesPulse will be higher after exercise
Respiratory Rate: 8-16 breaths per minutes Respiration will be higher after exercise
Capillary Refill Time:Less than 2 seconds
Mucus Membranes:Pink (bubble gum color)
Hoof temperature:Warm

Basic Guidelines for calling your veterinarian: Body temperature > 102 degrees F, Pulse > 44 bpm, Respiration > 20 bpm, capillary refill time > 3 seconds, Mucus membranes white, red, or blue (purple), Hoof temperature is hot, or if your horse is not eating or listless. You know your horse best, please use your judgement as well as these guidelines to determine when to call your veterinarian. Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions.