General health

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The more time you spend with your horse, the quicker you will be to discover if something is wrong.
Signs that your horse is not well could be that it does not finish its food, that it does not drink enough, that it appears anxious and rolls around on the floor, or that it looks generally lethargic and unkempt.

There are a few good guidelines to follow if you suspect that your horse is unwell. To know what is normal for your horse, you must learn what it is like when it is healthy.

Temperature

The normal body temperature of a horse should be between 37.0 and 38.2 degrees (C). To find out what is the normal for your horse, you should take its temperature a few days in a row, preferably at the same time of day, for example in the morning.

Pulse

The horse will normally have a pulse between 28-40 beats per minute. The easiest way to check the pulse is through the blood vessel that runs along the bottom of the mandible or down by the fetlock

Breathing

The horse will normally take between 8-16 breaths per minute.

Mucous membranes

The horse's mucous membranes should be light pink; lift its upper lip to check.

Dehydration

If you pinch the skin of the horse's neck and pull outwards, it should go back down in a few seconds when you let go. If it takes longer, it may be an indication that your horse is dehydrated.

Bowel sounds

Place your ear against the abdomen, in the back towards the flank, and normally you should hear the intestines (gurgling sound), more clearly and louder on the left side.

Droppings

Has the horse urinated and defecated, and if so, does it look normal or are the droppings unusually loose, for example?

If your horse has any values outside of its normal range, you should let it rest. If you are unsure, contact your veterinarian to consult with them about possible treatment.

This should be in your stable first-aid kit

  • Thermometer
  • Antiseptic, such as iodine-based solution
  • Saline solution
  • Cotton
  • Dressings and sterile compresses
  • Gauze and elastic bandages
  • Self-adhesive bandages, flexible bandages
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Mild soap
  • Moisturizing ointment, such as Helosan or Idomin
  • Oral syringe, may be used to clean wounds
  • Disposable gloves
  • Twitch
  • Plasters – for you

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