Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Take Temperature, Pulse & Respiration, TPR

Temperature, pulse, and respiration are three very important basic vital signs that should all be taken together. Practice these skills together, and you will be able to accomplish them in just a few minutes.

As you become more proficient, you can add in additional skills and eventually perform the bundled set of skills that we call the “Whole Horse Exam.”


Look up the individual skills for more helpful information about each of these skills and to master them individually.

I like to insert the thermometer first, and then use the next few minutes to take a horse's heart rate and respiratory rate. Streamline gathering this information so it becomes second nature.

Tips for safety & Success

If your horse is not accustomed to having their temperature taken or gets anxious in the process, wait a minute for them to quiet down before you listen to the heart. Otherwise, you could get a falsely elevated heart rate.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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