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How to Take Your Horse’s Temperature

Rectal temperature is easily taken on most horses by placing a small amount of lubricant (petroleum jelly) on the thermometer. Approach the horse from the side; do not stand directly behind the horse in case they decide to kick. Raise or move the horse’s tail and insert the thermometer into the anus. Thermometers designed for use with livestock have a ring on the top. This ring can be attached to a string and a clip attached to the opposite end of the string. The clip can be clipped to the horse’s tail when you take the horse’s temperature.

The normal rectal temperature of an adult horse is 99.5 to 101.5°F (37.5 to 38.6ºC).

If the horse’s rectal temperature is above normal, it has a fever, not a temperature. All horses have a temperature, either above normal (fever), below normal (hypothermia), or normal.

For more information on horse health care, check out the Basic Horse Care and Management Learning Lesson.