Horse owners should be competent in some minor veterinary skills horse, according to Equus magazine. Taking your horse’s temperature is certainly something you need to know how to do, you can use a regular human electronic rectal thermometer available at any pharmacy. Your veterinarian can show you where to stand so the procedure can be performed safely. The second skill is monitoring your horse’s heart rate or taking the pulse. You can do this by purchasing a stethoscope or your veterinarian can teach you to take the pulse by feeling an artery just under the horse’s jaw, about half way from the throat to the front teeth. Getting a respiratory rate is also important and you can do this just by watching your horse breathe and counting the number of breaths per minute.
Checking the mucous membranes is important and this includes checking the color of the gums, which should be pink and moist. Checking the capillary refill time is also important as it gives the vet an idea of perfusion of the organs. It can be determined by lifting your horse’s lip, pressing your finger on the gum and counting the number of seconds it takes for the white area that you touched to turn pink again; normal is less than two and a half seconds. The last skill to perform is placing medication in your horse’s eye.
A photograph in the article shows a person with ointment on their finger placing it in a horse’s eye. I do not believe this is a good idea unless you are wearing a new latex glove for each treatment because you can transfer bacteria and fungi into the eye and cause a major infection. Horses’ eyes are quite sensitive and it is critical to have your vet show you how to apply ointment or drops as neither is an easy procedure.