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Online First Aid For Horses

Online first aid for horses.  What to do as you wait for the vet and more importantly, what NOT to do regarding horses injuries...

Horse Injuries

Online first aid for horses of course, doesn’t start on the internet. It starts in the stall or the pasture. It starts with preparation and prevention.

online first aid for horses, thoroughbred injuries.

Get to know your horse. Check his vital signs when he is well and uninjured so you will know when there is a difference. 

Your horse will also get accustomed to being handled in this way. When your horse isn’t feeling well, is frightened or in pain, it is not the time to introduce him to something new. 

Remain calm. If you stay calm when your horse is sick or injured, it will help the animal to remain calm. Notice your horse's attitude. 

Use these online first aid for horses tips for horses until help arrives, no matter how large or small the injuries are. Get your horse to a safe location if possible, where he won’t injure himself if he goes down. If you cannot safely approach him, simply don't.

Get help. Even the most mild-mannered horse can be unpredictable if in pain or ill. He may even hurt you accidentally while thrashing around. 

You cannot help your horse if you are injured yourself. If possible, get someone to help hold the injured animal while you review the online first aid for horses and call your vet if necessary.

Always have your Veterinarian’s emergency phone number handy. Do not attempt to self medicate your horse until you have talked to your vet. A dosage of a sedative or medication that is fine when the horse is well could cause damage or make it sicker when your horse is injured, in shock or ill. 

If your horse has stepped on a nail, you need to remove it to prevent him from stepping on it and driving it in further. Keep the nail. Mark on it how deep it was in and mark where the nail was embedded. Call your Veterinarian. You may need to administer a tetanus booster shot.

How to Check Vital Signs for Horses

Your vet will ask you for your horse’s vital signs.


  • Use a digital thermometer with a string tied around it. Lubricate it with petroleum jelly, water or saliva if necessary. 

online first aid for horses, thoroughbred injuries.
  • Move the horse’s tail to the side and insert the thermometer angled towards the ground. Always clean the thermometer before putting it away. Normal adult temperature is between 99.5 and 101.5 degrees F. For foals, normal is 100.5 to 101.5.


  • You can feel the pulse inside the elbow up and forward against the chest, on the back edge of the lower jaw or on the inner surface of the groove under the jaw. Count each lub-dub as one and count them for 15 seconds. Then multiply that number by 4 to get the beats per minute. Pulse rate for mature horses: 24 to 36 bpm. Newborn foals: 40 to 60 bpm. 

Circulating Blood:

  • A low capillary refill time can be an indication of shock, congestion, anemia, dehydration, a circulatory problem or colic. Press your thumb on your horse’s gum and release it. It should take about two seconds for the color to return to the area.

Mucous Membranes:

  • While you are checking the circulating blood, check the color of the gums. They should be pink. Bright red could mean sickness, light pink, anemia, bluish-purple could mean a lack of circulation. If you can’t get to the horse’s mouth, look inside the nostrils or the lips of a mare’s vulva.


  • If the horse is well hydrated, a fold of skin on the neck when pinched will return to its original condition quickly. If it returns slowly or stays in a fold the horse is dehydrated.


  • Unless the weather is hot or humid, your horse has a fever or is in pain, its resting respiration rate should be 12 to 24 breaths per minute for adults and 32 to 54 for foals. The respiration should never exceed the heart rate. Watch your horse's belly for one minute; count the inhale and the exhale as one. 

Colic Sounds:

  • Listen to your horse’s gut. You can use a stethoscope, or place your ear alongside his belly. There should be lots of noise. If you do this often you will know how much rumbling is normal for your horse. 
  • If the animal is in distress and you don’t hear any rumbling, call your vet! There are several indications of colic. The horse will be restless, look back at itself, paw the ground and try to lie down and roll. 
  • Call your vet immediately. Online first aid for horses can only offer tips. Time is critical. While awaiting the vet, keep the horse walking and do not let it lie down and roll.

More Information About Raising Healthy Foals

First aid for foals

About tail chewing

Wound care - essential information to know

Common foal problems

Foal diarrhea and what you can do

You are invited to visit the home page for Foal To Yearling Halters here.