Thinking of thermometers

When a horse seems sick, his or her temperature is one of the first questions the equine veterinarian will ask. A horse’s normal body temperature, taken rectally, ranges from 99.5 (F) to 101.5 (F).

It’s important for horse owners to know how to take equine temperatures. And it’s not all that complicated, if the right tools are readily available.

What do you need to take your horse’s temperature?

  • Rectal thermometer (digital)
  • Bright-colored string
  • Clothespin or jaw clip
  • Petroleum jelly

The most useful thermometers for taking horses’ temperatures are constructed of plastic and designed for rectal use. An appropriate thermometer will have a ring or hole on the end of it, so a sturdy, bright colored string may be attached. A smart horseman will tie a clothespin or jaw clip to the string.

Why the string and clip?

The string and clip serve two purposes.

1) First, the string may be clipped to the horse’s tail, so it will not fall on the ground, if the horse should shy or produce manure during the procedure. And the bright string makes the thermometer easy to find, if it is accidentally dropped in the horse’s stall or outdoors.

2) The string also prevents the thermometer from becoming lost inside the horse, as this occasionally occurs.

Why the petroleum jelly?

This is placed on the tip of the thermometer to make insertion easier and less uncomfortable for the horse.

Ideally, each horse has his or her own thermometer, particularly during disease outbreaks. But thermometers may also be sterilized. This should be done after every use.

Special veterinary thermometers may be purchased. Here are a few examples.

Of course, suitable thermometers may also be found in drugstores, as long as they meet the aforementioned specifications. Horse thermometers are generally about nine inches long.

Mercury-filled glass thermometers are not recommended for equine use, for safety reasons.

The Mane Point: A Haven for Horse Lovers is participating in the April A to Z Blogging Challenge again this year. Stop on back, so you don’t miss a single post!


Bay Mare photo by RAH
for The Mane Point
Blog series graphics created by this user

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