Elevated temperature: what does fever mean in a horse??

Fever in horses occurs in a similar way as in humans. It is a reaction to an infection or inflammation. But do you actually know how to recognize the increased temperature? And what is the best course of action? Should fever be fought? When do you need to see the vet? We will now clarify these and many other questions.

Symptoms: Recognize fever in horses

In humans, the case is clear: hand on the forehead and reach for the clinical thermometer. But how can you detect a fever in a horse? To do this, you first need to know the initial condition. If you familiarize yourself well with your animal, you will quickly notice changes and be able to act accordingly. Typical signs of an elevated temperature include:

  • Apathetic, apathetic behavior
  • Persistent sweating
  • Warm ears
  • Reluctance to move
  • Loud breathing, coughing
  • Swollen/stretched legs
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Infrequent drinking
  • Dark urine

If you notice one or more of these symptoms, it can be a clear indication of fever. However, in order to be able to make this diagnosis with certainty, you must take the temperature. How this works exactly, we reveal in the following.

Diagnosis: Taking a fever in a horse

A completely healthy horse has a body temperature between 37 and 38.2 °C. From 38.5 °C we speak of fever, from 41 °C it moves in a dangerous range. By the way, the internal temperature is always meant and should be measured accordingly. In concrete terms, this means inserting a clinical thermometer into the anus. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Stand sideways next to the hind legs to take the horse’s temperature.

How to measure a fever in a horse?

Most horses will react uneasily at first when you try to take a fever. This is why it is important to always stand sideways next to the hind legs. If the animal lashes out, you are not in the danger zone. It is best to also look for a helper to support you. This stands to the head and holds the halter tightly. He can also provide distraction with petting and a soothing voice.

If you want to insert the thermometer, proceed calmly in any case. It’s best to use a little water or vegetable oil to prevent injury and make it a little more comfortable. Once it’s in, be sure to hold the small device tightly – especially if you’re using a traditional human model. It can otherwise quickly enter the intestine and must then be surgically removed.

Do you already know our online store? Here you can find care products and additional feed for your horse.

When should you (not) measure fever?

If the fever thermometer has given a value, it is always best to check it a second time for accuracy. To do this, simply wait a few minutes. This way you can exclude measuring errors. You should also remember that in some situations the temperature will automatically rise.

This is the case, for example, in the evening, as it is for humans. To reliably determine a fever in a horse, it is best to take the temperature in the evening. In addition, strenuous exercise can also cause the body temperature to be elevated. So wait at least one hour before you reach for the thermometer. In general, higher values are normal in foals – even 38.5 °C is not yet a cause for concern here. From about 39 °C one speaks of fever.

By the way: The temperature can also be falsely perceived as lower. This is often the case after rectal examinations, for example. For example, if colic or pregnancy is suspected. After one, it is best to wait fifteen minutes to get a reliable result. In addition, many horses develop fevers. It is therefore best to measure several times a day and over several days – this way you can ensure that it is not just between two temperature highs.

Causes: What does fever in a horse mean?

Fever in a horse is not a disease in its own right, rather it is a symptom of one. The body raises its own temperature to fight infection or inflammation. In order to lower the values again, it is first necessary to find the cause – and there are several of them.

Infections and other diseases

Most often, a fever in a horse is due to an infection. This is where pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi or even parasites enter the body. The increased temperature should then ensure that they are killed off. Usually it does not need to be treated then either and will go down by itself as the patient recovers. As a preventive measure, it is of course important to carry out a regular worming treatment.

An elevated temperature is usually caused by an infection. For example, viruses.

Besides infections, allergies can also cause fever. The body recognizes specific substances as pathogens and reacts accordingly. Similarly, toxins, which are to be decomposed by the increased temperature. Rarely, it is tumors that trigger this reaction. They can produce so-called pyrogens, which signal the body to become warmer.

By the way: Constipation can also lead to an increased body temperature. However, this is usually regionally limited and serves to loosen the stuck feces. This is not a fever in the true sense of the word.

Heat stroke& high load

It is not uncommon for heat stroke to be diagnosed as a fever in a horse. This is actually not true, because here is no infection or similar the cause. Instead, it is really the temperature itself that becomes dangerous. If an animal lies too long in the blazing sun or is overloaded during training, the body temperature can become dangerously high. It is important to act quickly and provide cooling, because heat stroke can be fatal if left untreated.

But attention! A certain increase in body temperature is also normal during training. Up to 40 °C can be attributed to metabolism. Because a lot of energy is produced here, which is partly converted into heat. From 41 ° C, however, it exceeds a critical value and it is spoken of a heat stroke.

If the fever cannot be directly attributed to a trigger and rises above 40 °C, the vet should be called as soon as possible. Because a quick treatment is especially important in case of poisoning, but also in case of heat stroke and co. important. If the temperature rises only slightly, observe it. In most cases it is only a small infection. Do you still have concerns, but always prefer to play it safe!

Treatment: How to reduce fever in horses?

While the fever is basically a natural and sensible reaction of the body, it can be dangerous in the long term. Because usually the animals take up reduced water and food. This can lead to indigestion and dehydration. This in turn can lead to colic, kidney and heart problems. That is why it is important that you do something about it if the fever persists:

  1. Call a veterinarian: This can determine diseases and suggest a therapy.
  2. Cool down: Look for a shady, cool place. Put if necessary. a sweat blanket if your horse perspires heavily.
  3. Give rest: Rest is important when there is a fever. It is best to give the horse some box rest or a separated paddock – but always in such a way that it can still see and smell its fellow horses.

To cool the horse, the sweat is washed off.

If you have carried out these first steps, it is important to support the horse in the best possible way. It is especially important to drink plenty of water. Because by sweating it loses a lot of fluid. If it does not want to drink, you can also add a little apple or banana juice. Home remedies, which you may know from yourself, can also help to lower the temperature in horses:

  • Cold leg wraps: soak some harness or towels in cool water and secure to the leg with a bandage.
  • Showering: Wash off sweat and thereby cool the body slightly at the same time (Attention: Do not use cold water!)

Continue to take the temperature regularly. As a rule, an improvement should be noticeable within a few days. If this is not the case, contact the vet (again). Possibly, this person will also prescribe medications such as antibiotics.

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: