Tuckers Pet & Produce have a lot of equine health products available instore and online. Your horses health is very important to us so below are some tips to recognising a sick horse, which hopefully can help you find the proper solution to help them.
A sound understanding of your horse’s vital signs can be used to determine the current state of health and fitness. Awareness of your horse’s vital signs will enable you to differentiate between what is considered ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ for your horse. The can also help provide your vet with vital information about the severity of your horses sickness.
The vital signs outlined in this article will enable you to perform a physical examination that can be used to assess any changes in your horse’s demeanor, body temperature, and hydration, respiratory and cardiovascular health.
Recognising a sick horse through Vital Signs:
Temperature: Normal Range 37-38C
Pulse: Normal Range 25-42 Beats per minute
Respiration: 10-20 breaths per minute
Mucous Membranes: Pale Pink
Capillary Refill Time: < 2 seconds
Gut Motility: Should sound like a regular gentle washing machine
Digital Pulses: Should not be “bounding.”
Skin: Should bounce back when “tented.”
Other Signs to monitor:
Attitude: Is your horse abnormally irritable or aggressive or is your horse showing signs of depression.
Eating and Drinking: The average 500Kg horse should drink 12-40L per day.
Fecal and Urine output: When was the last time you saw your horse urinate or poo? How many poos have they done in a 24 hour period?
Gait: Is your horse moving freely in the walk and trot are there any visible signs lameness?
Top Tip: Always have easy access to your veterinarian’s numbers and a backup for emergencies. Know where your nearest specialist centre is located.
Contact a Veterinarian Immediately for:
Prolonged or Difficult Foaling
Major Wounds (lacerated arteries, joints, body cavity, exposed bone)
Profuse Haemorrhage (nasal, castration site)
Road & Traffic Accidents
Severe Lameness (“three legged”)
Top Tip: Have a first aid kit in an easily accessible location and make sure it is always kept stocked and ready. Discard items when they expire and replace with new ones.
What should I included in my First Aid Kit?
Iodine Solution – for rinsing eyes and mucous membranes
Alcohol and Swabs
Sterile Water or Saline
Syringes and Needles (60ml and 18g)
Non stick primary wound dressings
Gauze Bandage or Soft Conforming Bandage (Soffban)
Cotton Wool or Combine
Elastic Bandage (vetrap, elastoplast, crepe)
Feminine Hygiene products (great primary dressings and puncture wounds)
Nappies (best foot bandages!)
Virkon– DPI approved for Hendra and Equine Influenza