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Normal Pulse, Respiration and Temperature

Learn Your Horse's Pulse, Respiration and Temperature


Position of stethoscope on horse.

Place the stethoscope on the body just behind the front elbow of the horse to listen for the pulse.

2005 K. Blocksdorf

It is essential to know your horse's normal pulse, respiration rate and body temperature. Knowing what is normal for your horse is helpful if you need to determine if it is having respiratory problems or is developing a fever. You'll also be able to help the veterinarian, should your horse need treatment, by providing accurate information.

  • Normal pulse range: 28 to 45 beats (count the double 'lub dub' as one full beat) per minute.
  • Normal respiration range: 8 to 20 breaths per minute
  • Normal temperature range for a horse: 98.5F to 101F (36.9C to 38.3C)

These values are general normal ranges. Check your horse over several days, at different times of the day to establish the normal pulse, respiration and temperature ranges for your individual horse. Keep in mind that the air temperature can influence your horse's body temperature. If it is very hot, a horse's internal temperature may increase slightly. Take its temperature at cooler parts of the day and average the readings. Also, if your horse is anticipating a treat or suppertime, you may see a slight increase in pulse and respiration. If your horse is very relaxed, you may get respiration readings as low as four breaths per minute.

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