How to Determine if a Horse Is Sick

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How to Determine if a Horse Is Sick. Become accustomed to your horse's moods and physical condition. The more you understand what's normal for your horse, the more you'll be able to detect what's abnormal.

Things You'll Need

  • Rectal Thermometers For Large Animals
  • Stethoscopes
  • Local Horse Magazines
  • National Horse Magazines
  • Horse Comb/brush Set

Give your horse a brief visual exam every time you see him.

Learn how to take your horse's temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate (see Related eHows).

Perform a physical exam (see Related eHow) if a horse that's usually bright, alert and responsive is acting dull, slow and depressed.

Notice if the horse is exhibiting a decrease in appetite. Be especially concerned if your horse has stopped eating or drinking.

Notice signs of pain or discomfort such as pawing, looking or biting at a flank, getting up and down frequently, favoring a leg and rolling. Be sure to distinguish between your horse's normal and abnormal rolling habits.

Take your horse's temperature using a rectal thermometer. It's impossible to tell if a horse has a fever by visual inspection alone. A horse's normal temperature is between 99 and 101 degrees F.

Call the vet immediately if you determine that your horse is not feeling well.

Be cautious of non-veterinarian advice, regardless of how well-intended it may be.

Tips & Warnings

  • When in doubt, call your veterinarian. It is better to be overly cautious.
  • Do not take a "wait and see" approach. A horse declines rapidly upon the onset of symptoms.

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