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Vital Signs

There will be variations in individual temperature, pulse and respiration values. Take several baseline measurements when the horse is healthy, rested, and relaxed. Write them down and keep them within easy reach, perhaps with your first aid kit, so you have them to compare to in case of an emergency.

Normal ranges for adult horses:

  • Pulse rate: 30-42 beats per minute.
  • Respiratory rate: 12-20 breaths per minute.
  • Rectal temperature: 99.5′ to 101.5′ F. If the horse’s temperature exceeds 102.5′ F., contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Capillary refill time (time it takes for color to return to gum tissue adjacent to teeth after pressing and releasing with your thumb): 2 seconds.