Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Take Heart Rate with Stethoscope (in Foal)

This is the same procedure as is performed in an adult. The only difference is that foal’s hearts can be heard far more easily because of how thin the chest wall is compared to adults. In addition, normal foal heart rates are much more rapid, ranging from 60 to over 100 beats per minute.

Procedure

To determine the foal's heart rate with a stethoscope, make sure your earpieces are pointing forward before you insert them into your ears.

Have an assistant restrain the foal. Place the stethoscope near the girth location and push it toward the head slightly,behind the triceps muscle mass. Each "lub" and "dub" makes up 1 heart beat. Count the number of beats in 15 seconds and multiply that number by 4 to get the foal's beats per minute (BPM).

Tips for safety & Success

Proper restraint is critical to perform this skill successfully. Ensure that you work well with your assistant.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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