Tutorial – Know Your Horse’s Vital Signs

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Tutorial - Know Your Horse's Vital Signs



Photo – © Justaman – Fotolia.com

Do you know how to read your horse’s vital signs? Vital signs are important parameters in determining the well being of your horse; that is why they are called “vital” in the first place. In humans, we have four cardinal or vital signs namely blood pressure, pulse rate, respiratory rate, and temperature. It has been said that pain is also considered as the fifth of the vital signs. Horses, on the other hand, have five – namely pulse, breathing rate, temperature, hydration level tests, and gut or intestinal sounds.



It is highly encouraged that everyone who handles or owns a horse should know how to read their horse’s five vital signs. Vital signs are simple but very important to determine if your horse is well fit and healthy or needs his veterinarian.

The parameters are also used to provide baseline data that are essential to know the prognosis of your horse’s condition, if he is indeed ill. According to livinglegends, “Your horse’s vital signs should be regularly monitored. It may be a good idea to write them in a diary and keep a note on the horse’s behavior and general condition.” In that manner you will be able to track some shifts and fluctuations that can eventually give you a warning if something is wrong with your horse. Similarly, early diagnosis also means prompt treatment that consequently leads to decrease in chances of complications (and perhaps cut down health treatment bills).

Don’t just take the vital signs of your horse when you think he is feeling ill – because you wouldn’t know their difference from the reading in his well state. If you note your horse’s vital signs even when he/she is in good health, then you can recognize the changes in his vital signs as and when they occur.

Yet again, horses cannot verbalize any feeling of discomfort so we can only rely on objective findings to determine their wellbeing. The vital signs are another means to gain greater insight into the horse’s condition.

Here is the link to the great article we found that provides the full tutorial on how to know your horse’s vital signs: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/09/04/know-horses-vital-signs

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