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Medical Index
First Posted May 16, 2010
Jul 22, 2010

Digital Pulse in Your Horse

by Debora Johnson

Has your vet ever shown how to take the digital pulse in your horse? If not, it is really important to know how to do that. The information below might be of help to you, however, a hands on lesson would be most invaluable!

There are many reasons why you should know how to take your horse's digital pulse. It can be an excellent indicator of problems brewing such as abscesses, infection, bruises, puncture wounds, cuts or conditions such as laminitis and founder, etc. In an emergency your vet might ask you to do just that. Generally I take the pulse for 15 seconds, counting the number of times the heart beats, then multiply by 4 to get the number of beats in one minute. It is also important to know how intense that pulse is. Is it a throbbing, bounding (a bounding pulse may be an indicator of laminitis) or a regular pulse. There may also be an increase in blood pressure. Early treatment is vital to prevent separation of the coffin bone and founder. Practice to get a feel for your horse's normal pulse.

I could write a descriptive narrative about how to do this, however, I believe that the three videos below give both verbal and visual instruction as to the method used to take the digital pulse. For a narrative see the links under, for more information, at the bottom of this article.

How to take your horse's digital pulse

Three places to take the digital pulse on your horse.

Taking the digital pulse at the fetlock joint behind the pastern.

Taking the pulse on your horse.

For More Information:

How to Check a Horse's Digital Pulse
Taking an Equine Digital Pulse

Medical Index