Is Patty, the Horse, Sick?

Hi Friends! It’s your pal, Ed, again. Today I need your help to figure out if my friend, Patty, is sick. She has not been herself the past two days and I am really worried about her!


The past few days she has looked like this. Ears have been pinned backward. She has been very still and is not even interested in eating. Is this normal?

NO! Any time a horse stops eating or drinking is a major sign that something is wrong. Horses usually eat for a majority of the day. If they feel bad, then they may not want to eat. We’ve talked before about how horses’ ears tell us a lot about their emotions. When a horse pins their ears, it can mean that they are upset or angry or even anxious. Patty’s ears are back but she is also very still and quiet. When you put those two signs together it means that she is not feeling well.


Today Patty is feeling worse. She has been looking at her stomach, stomping the ground and sometimes rolling. Is that normal for a horse?


NO! These are symptoms that Patty may have an upset stomach (or colic). Horses will do these things when their stomach hurts and they don’t know what else to do. If it gets bad enough, they will also sometimes nip at their stomach to try to get the pain to stop. If you notice this you should call the vet!


The vet came to visit Patty and the first thing she did was take a TPR (temperature, pulse (or heart) rate, and respiratory rate). TPR is different for dogs, cats, and even humans. Patty has a temperature of 101.0°F. She has a heart rate of 50 beats per minute and breathing 24 times in one minute. Is this normal?


Patty’s temperature is normal (she does not have a fever – YAY). Her heart rate is a little faster than normal. This is probably because of the pain from her stomach ache. Patty’s breathing is normal.


Yay! Thanks for helping me figure out that my friend Patty is feeling sick! Patty has colic. We will talk much more about this another time. It’s very important to know when a horse is sick, so a veterinarian can quickly examine her and plan how to treat her.

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