Check That Digital Pulse

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Learn to check your horse's digital pulse so you can catch inflammation as it starts and prevent a condition from worsening.

digital pulse weekly tip

Why? A strong or “throbby” digital pulse indicates inflammation in your horse’s foot or a disruption of the blood flow—conditions you’ll want to ask your vet about.

How? Squat next to your horse’s foot. Place three fingers of your hand on the inside of his fetlock joint, resting your thumb on the outside of the joint. Apply gentle pressure with your fingers, sliding them around a bit until you feel a small cord-like structure slip beneath your fingers—the digital artery. Note the strength of the pulse there; a strong one may indicate a foot bruise, sole abscess, or laminitis. If the pulse is weak and hard to find, it’s probably normal.

Tip: Practice finding the digital pulse when your horse’s feet are healthy, so you’ll know exactly where to palpate and what “normal” feels like.

Source: The Comprehensive Guide to Equine
Veterinary Medicine, by Barb Crabbe, DVM