How To Take A Horse Temperature Safely

Learn how to take a horse temperature. If you establish a normal average for your horse, you’ll be better prepared for an emergency. Monitor her temperature for a week to get a good average.

What you’ll need: A glass veterinary thermometer with a long string and clip tied to the end. For this procedure, the horse should be tied or held by an assistant.

1. Shake down a glass veterinary thermometer below 95° F.
2. Lightly lubricate the tip with a dab of KY® or petroleum jelly. Tip: too much lubricant can distort reading!
3. Stand to the side of your horse, facing her tail. Lift your horse’s tail and gently insert the thermometer into his anus at a slightly upward angle, to a depth of 2”. Attach the clip to her tail hairs.
4. With the heel of your hand resting against her buttock for stability, hold the thermometer in place. Release her tail if she shifts his weight, clamps or swishes her tail. Your horse may tolerate the thermometer better if her tail is free.
5. It takes about 2 minutes for a glass thermometer to register. Gently remove the thermometer and take your reading.
6. Clean the thermometer with rubbing alcohol and return it to its case.

For an adult horse at rest, a normal temperature range is between 99.5 degrees F and 101° F . If her temperature is higher than 104° F, call your veterinarian.

CAUTION: DO NOT leave a rectal thermometer unattended, even if yours has a safety string and clip. If your horse should rub his hindquarters, he might break off the thermometer, injuring his rectum. It takes 2 minutes or less for the temperature to register. Stay with your horse, and hold the end of the thermometer constantly.

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