How to Take a Horse’s Pulse and Respiratory Rate

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How to Take a Horse's Pulse and Respiratory Rate

Horse Respiratory Rate – We’re going to take his heart rate and when we take a horse’s heart rate that can really help us in trying to make sure our horse is healthy. We have to be really careful to make sure that our horse isn’t excitable at the time or overtly distracted.

How to Take a Horse’s Pulse and Respiratory Rate :

Video By The British Horse Society

As you can see he looks nice and relaxed. So, I’ve got him secured by that somebody’s holding him. So if he fidgets, they’re going to be able to help in making sure that he stands still and he keeps nice and quiet and relaxed. I’ll get a better reading then.

I’m going to use a stethoscope to test his heartbeat and to try and read his pulse. So, I tap the base to make sure I’ve got it on the right way. I’m then going to try and locate where his heart is.

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The horse’s heart, when we’re taking a reading, is placed in behind the elbow. And you want to make sure that the front leg is slightly forwards. You then gently place the stethoscope and quietly listen for the heartbeat. Then take the reading for approximately 15 seconds and then times that by 4 and that’ll give you the average rate.

How to Take a Horse's Pulse and Respiratory Rate

The average rate for a healthy horse would be in the range of 36 to 42. Obviously, if you’re not lucky enough to have a handy stethoscope, then we rely on some other areas. The most easy and common area to take a horse’s pulse then would be under the horse’s jawline.

How to Take a Horse's Pulse and Respiratory Rate

We unclip the head collar, again making sure that our horse is okay. He’s quite settled. And then using your fingers, not your thumb, because you’ve got a pulse in your thumb. Using your fingers you want to be able to push up into the horse’s throat,up and against the cheek bone to try and feel for that pulse.

And then again you take that reading and you follow the same principle really just time-sing by four if you’re counting for 15 seconds to give you the reading. Another thing we look at when we’re looking to see how well our horse is, is we look at the respiratory rate.

How to Take a Horse's Pulse and Respiratory Rate

And when we do this we need to have the horse as relaxed as possible. And the area we’re looking at is the flank area to try and see the movement as he breathes in and he breathes out. And we do this by reading for 15 seconds and times it by 4 and that will give you your average over a minute. So, looking for the breathing in and out. And a healthy horse at rest will have a respiratory rate of anywhere between 8 to 16 breaths per minute.

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admin December 8, 2017

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