A stethoscope is one of the most important pieces of equipment for a horse owner to have in their equine first aid kit. It is primarily used to listen (auscult) to the heart, lungs, trachea and gut motility.
You may be able to purchase an inexpensive but adequate quality stethoscope from a local drug store. Higher quality models can be purchased online or through your veterinarian. I recommend a midlevel Littman Stethoscope, about $60.00.
When deciding on a stethoscope, keep in mind that the larger or wider the bell (the concave cup that is pressed against the patient’s body wall) the better, because accurate placement is less important. Also, look for a stethoscope with longer tubing so you need not stand so tightly to your horse when listening.
Remember that it is critical to position the earpieces forward in the ears. If the stethoscope is reversed, it will be almost impossible to use properly.
For those who are hearing impaired, there are stethoscopes designed to be used with a hearing aid. See www.allheart.com for more details.