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How do you take your horses temperature? More....

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  • How do you take your horses temperature? More....

    I was wondering exactly what tool you use, and what your method is. Also, for limb heat, how do you tell if there is heat in a joint or hoof? How do you determine if the base of the ear is warm etc? DO you have a cheat sheet or memorize what the normal temps are for horses in each season/situation?
    Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

  • #2
    I do make sure I know my horses' baseline temperatures.

    I use a regular horse thermometer (mercury kind) in the rectum, the old-fashioned way. Not opposed to a digital thermometer--they are MUCH faster--but I just don't happen to have one in the first aid kit.

    As for limb heat, the method is strictly qualitative: compare the area in question with its matching part on the other side. I am familiar with my horses' legs, feet and joints so the feel of them is also part of any inspection, as well as the subjective temperature. Don't much do anything with bases of ears--if I'm checking a blanketed horse for warmth I run my bare hand up along the chest and flanks. Warm horse = OK. If the horse is naked and seems happy, relaxed and comfortable, that's OK.
    Click here before you buy.


    • #3
      I use digi, because I have a hard time reading mercury. They are so cheap now ($4 at wally world) I generally buy a new one each spring when I'm putting the foaling kit together.

      I've no idea other than touch how you'd tell limb heat without thermography.

      I use the SAME hand, check one, check the other, repeat a few times until I'm satisfied with my impression.
      InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

      Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


      • #4
        To check temp. digital thermometer in the rectum. Like DW said, very good idea to have baseline temp.

        As for any other part of the horse I use my husbands Snap-On electronic infrared thermometer, which I have "permanently borrowed".


        • #5
          Digital also. Works well and it's quick. I can't read the old fashioned thermometers either.

          Same as Pinto for heat.
          A Merrick N Dream Farm
          Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique


          • #6
            I take my horses temp about once a week to get an average - and I write it in chalk on their stall walls. That way I don't need to remember; it's just there.

            With heat in the limbs I as everyone else does, use feel, but there's definitely an art to it. A couple of really obvious things.. If the horse has been lying down wait for a while. sometimes the leg that's been folded under can feel more filled or warm than the other but this normally re-adjusts within a few minutes. The other is check they haven't been standing with one leg in the sun - it catches me out every time


            • #7
              I use a digital with Vaseline Works great.

              I am big on knowing your horse's temp, vitals, etc and getting a good baseline feel. As for heat in limbs, I run my hands down my horse's legs every day when I groom or ride. Both before and after riding. I also feel his hocks and hooves for warmth. Again, I know his "baseline" feel - he has arthritic hocks and sometimes they feel a tiny bit warm on a warmer day or after a long ride. But usually by the time I turn him out, it's back to normal.

              I do know that when my horse had a fever, his ears were warm. I never knew that until his 1st fever, so now I know and I feel his ears daily too


              • #8
                i use a an ordinary therometer in the bum which is always in my meddy kit
                i know when my horses are sick or ill and i know when they warm or cold and inkow ehn they have limb problems if any appear


                • #9
                  Those of us not organized enough to have Vaseline around use good, old-fashioned spit (it takes a little practice if you are not used to projectile spitting) to lubricate the thermometer.

                  If your horse is not used to having his temperature taken, have somebody hold his head. Slowly walk down his left side, put your left hand on top of his rump and gently slide it down to the dock, grab the base of the tail and gently lift it away from his butt, and use your right hand to push the thermometer into his anus about 2 inches. Stand there and hold the thermometer until it beeps, or 1-2 min. for old-fashioned kinds. Once you have the thermometer in, you can let go of the tail and pat or scratch their croup with your left hand.

                  Most horses are good about having their temperature taken. Some dance around a little until they get used to it -- just stay with them. If they try to sit down while you are taking the temp, I recommend bailing and giving them a minute to settle and regain their dignity. I tried sticking with it once and the filly almost sat on the ground, then explosively double-barreled straight back. Scared the carp out of me. On this note, always stay to the side when taking a temp. It is tempting to stand right behind them to better see what you are doing, but don't do it!

                  The fast (30-sec) thermometers are great -- they vastly reduce the amount of time spent staring at horse butts waiting for results, which is even more important if your horse disapproves of the process.

                  Sign me,
                  She who has spent many hours getting cozy with horse butts.
                  The plural of anecdote is not data.
                  Eventing Yahoo In Training


                  • #10
                    I know you will all think it is unnessary to mention this - but use a RECTAL glass thermometer (or digital).
                    I happen to know of a case in which a horse bled to death because his owner used a human glass thermometer and it broke in the horse

                    Also, very important to know what is normal for each horse. My foal was always a bit warmer than 'normal', although it was normal for him.

                    Did someone mention already to have a string tied to the termometer and a hair clamp or roach clip to clip onto the tail?
                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                    • #11
                      Having mostly used digital, I wasn't aware that there were different strengths of glass thermometers. Learn something new every day!

                      If you don't let go of the thermometer, you are less likely to lose or break it, and you know that it was in far enough for the right period of time. No need for string.
                      The plural of anecdote is not data.
                      Eventing Yahoo In Training


                      • #12
                        Rectal glass thermometer for at least 3 minutes. Longer than 3 minutes doesn't seem to make any real difference. I've got it tied to a string and then use a clip to attach to tail or blanket so I can do other things at the same time. Besides, standing with your hand at your horses' butt for 3 minutes seems forever but if you're picking feet, it goes by really fast!

                        I'm a bit anal (no pun intended )) but I do rectal temps about 3-6 days in a row at several times. Generally the basic times I'm at the barn, like 7 AM, 12 PM 4-5 PM, 7:30 PM, and a late night at about 10 PM. Then I take the mean/average of each time frame as well as an overall mean. I've even done a standard deviation on them in the past! I also do them for each season, like January for winter, May for Spring, July for Summer, and October for fall. This way I know that both of my horses temp at all seasons is a bit below the norm (99-101 degrees) at 98.4 degrees.

                        PS. Although I'm now retired and don't have anything else to do but enjoy my horses and farm, I did the temperature charting while I was still working.

                        Like I said, anal-retentive to say the least.

                        As for heat at any joint, etc. I compare it to the opposite leg, like LF fetlock to RF fetlock. If I'm checking for heat in feet, I check all 4 and, if I think there is any, I then compare said horse to the other horse I have.

                        I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


                        • #13
                          I use a digital, up the bum. Vaseline makes it a whole lot nicer.

                          As for limbs and feet, I try to be fairly intimate with all my horses legs, so I can really tell if there is a touch of heat anywhere...I think this is a vital part of horse care. A very good thing to really know what your horses' legs feel like. Not only temp, but also the way the joints feel, where someone might have a old splint or a funny scar. Makes for catching issues quickly much easier.

                          I was taught by a very good lameness vet that the best way to feel heat in a leg in the area between your thumb and first finger. That is the most sensitive part of the hand.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                            I know you will all think it is unnessary to mention this - but use a RECTAL glass thermometer (or digital).
                            I happen to know of a case in which a horse bled to death because his owner used a human glass thermometer and it broke in the horse

                            Also, very important to know what is normal for each horse. My foal was always a bit warmer than 'normal', although it was normal for him.

                            Did someone mention already to have a string tied to the termometer and a hair clamp or roach clip to clip onto the tail?

                            If you do not have a roach clip handy in your tack box, you can use a clothes pin


                            • #15
                              Is a roach clip really the name for one of those things?? Duuuuude....I thought it was just a nickname.

                              Anyway, glad someone mentioned it. If you don't have the string handy, just don't let go of it. Apparently the thermometer can get sucked right up in there.


                              • #16
                                Were you planning to drill a little teeny hole in the clothespin to thread the string through???

                                To stand behind a fidgetty horse holding a thermometer is a bit of a pain when you could be doing something else.
                                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                • #17
                                  Tying a knot is a good skill to have.

                                  And that's why I like the digital ones. They're so much faster.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    So the keys are speed, accuracy and knowing what you're looking at? (Ie what the temp means for this animal)
                                    Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


                                    • #19
                                      Accuracy just means getting it in there so that the end stays completely covered.
                                      The plural of anecdote is not data.
                                      Eventing Yahoo In Training