Taking Your Horse's Temperature

The normal body temperature of a horse or pony is 99 - 101 F and a temperature higher than that may mean your pony has an infection. However horses and ponies tend to have higher temperatures in warm weather and during or after exercise, stress or excitement.

The most accurate way to take your pony's temperature is rectally. Thermometers can be purchased from tack shops and pharmacies. There are many different types of thermometer but modern plastic digital thermometers are easy to use and work well. Remember however that if you use mercury-type thermometer to always shake down the mercury before taking the horse's temperature. It is a good idea to always tie a string to the end of the thermometer, so that it doesn't get lost if pushed to deeply inside the rectum.

The horse should always be tied or held still by an assistant. Lubricate the tip of the thermometer with petroleum jelly. Move the horse's tail to the side and out of the way and insert the thermometer into the horse's rectum, angled slightly towards the ground. Leave the thermometer in position for at least 3 minutes or until the digital thermometer bleeps to say that its reading is completed.

It is important to ensure the thermometer is cleaned well before returning it to its case to prevent the spreading of disease.