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How To Take A Horse Respiratory Rate

The average horse respiratory rate of an adult equine at rest is 8-15 breaths per minute. An increased respiration rate may indicate fever or pain. It can also increase due to exercise or hot, humid weather.

What You Will Need:

Watch with a second hand or stopwatch Stethoscope for method 2.

Method 1:

1. Watch or feel your horse’s ribcage/belly for one minute.
2. Count one inhale and one exhale as one breath.
3. If you are having trouble seeing the ribcage move, you can place your hand in front of your horse’s nostril to feel the exhale.

Method 2:

If you have a stethoscope, you can use it to take the respiration rate. This can be helpful for hearing mucus or obstructions in the windpipe.

1. Place the bell of the sethoscope in the center of your horse’s throat, 6 to 8 inches below his throatlatch.
2. Listen to the air rush by as he inhales and exhales.
3. Count the number of breaths in a 15-second period and multiply by 4 for breaths-per-minute. Watch abdomen for stressful breathing.

Rapid breathing at rest requires veterinary attention.

Other tips:

Respiration rate should never exceed the pulse rate.
A horse should spend equal time inhaling and exhaling.

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