Last Updated on February 19, 2022 by Allison Price
My advice to veterinary students is to see a lot of horses that are healthy and sound in order to identify a sick horse or lame horse. Although horses are different, there are some signs that all horses can be in good health.
* Attitude – Healthy horses are alert and bright, and they care about other horses, their surroundings, and you. Horses will occasionally roll, especially when they are turned out. However, after each roll, always wipe off the dust. Colic is a condition where a horse rolls over and over, often looking at its side, and can cause it to become disoriented. Contact your veterinarian.
* Refusal to Eat – This is the first sign that a horse has an infectious disease such as West Nile virus or influenza. Sometimes, tooth problems can prevent a horse from eating. To distinguish the two, check the horse’s rectal temperature. A resting adult horse should maintain a body temperature between 99 and 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature above this level could indicate an active infection. A foal should be kept between 99.5 and 102.1 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Nose and eyes – Your horse should have clear, open, clean eyes. They must not be cloudy, discolored, or cloudy. Your veterinarian should check for any unusual discharges or dull, glazed appearance. Your veterinarian should inspect your nostrils for excess mucus. It is not unusual for horses to have a small amount of clear liquid in their nostrils.
* Body condition – It is important to ensure your horses are in a healthy weight and condition. To assess your horse’s health, use the Henneke Body Condition nine level scoring system. Ideal body condition scores of 4-5 are recommended.
* The horse’s hair coat – Shiny, shiny coats are a sign that the horse is in good health. This can be due to regular grooming and meeting their nutritional needs. Poor nutrition, parasites, or poor general health can all lead to a dull coat.
* Vital signs It is important to know the vital signs of your horse. They can be a sign that there may be a problem. The horse may be hyperactive or have a high heart rate.
- Heart rate: Between 28 and 44 beats per hour depending on horse’s size.
- Respiration: 10-24 breaths per minute.
- Mucous membranes: Horse’s gums must be healthy and moist.
- Capillary fill time: Press your finger against the horse’s gums to make the point of pressure return to pink within a matter of seconds.
- Normal intestinal sounds include gurgling, gas-like grunts, occasional roars and tinkling sounds. Colic can manifest as a decrease in intestinal sounds or a lack thereof.
* Horse manure and urine A healthy horse will pass manure 8-12 times per day. The urine should be clear and wheat-colored.
* Hydration Depending on the exercise level and weather conditions, an average horse consumes between 5 and 10 gallons per day.
* Legs and feet The horse should stand straight with its weight evenly distributed across all four feet. A slight lifting and taking weight off of a hindleg is acceptable, but not for the foreleg. The legs of your horse should not have any bumps, swelling or hair loss. The horse’s feet should not be subject to heat.
It takes less than 10 minutes to evaluate your horse. You can check him every day to see what is normal.