HILL'S HORSEKEEPING NEWSLETTER
newsletter is a personal letter from me to you,
a fellow horse owner and
My goal is to answer some of your questions and send you interesting
stories and helpful tips for your
horse care, training, and riding.
© 2003 Cherry Hill
signs measure a horse's body functions and are a good indication of his overall
state of health. Learn how to take your horse's temperature, pulse, respiration,
capillary refill time, perform the pinch test and become adept with a stethoscope
for listening to his heart, lungs, and intestines. Know what is normal for most
adult horses. But every horse is different, so know what is normal for each of
your horses so you will know when there is a problem. To establish normals, take
the vital signs twice a day for three days
and average the readings. Choose various times of day but always when the horse
is at rest, not when he has just been working or is excited. Write them in your
horse's record. Then, when your horse becomes ill, you can take his vital signs
and compare them to his normals. This is valuable information to have on hand
when you call your veterinarian.
on a Vital Sign below to change pages
The pinch test is
a quick and easy subjective way to evaluate skin turgor (normal state of distention
and resiliency) and measure dehydration. However, the best indication that your
horse is properly hydrated is to know that he is drinking plenty of fresh water
and that his manure is moist. To perform the pinch test, pick up a fold of skin
in the neck/shoulder area and pull it away from the horse's body. Release the
fold of skin. It should return almost immediately to its normal flat position.
If the skin remains markedly peaked for two to three seconds, it probably indicates
a degree of body fluid loss. A "standing tent" of skin for a five to
ten second duration indicates moderate to severe dehydration which might require
the attention of your veterinarian.