Trivia Challenge: Know These Key Facts About a Horse’s Fever?

Answer the questions, then check at bottom for the key. For more fun and educational information about horses and horsemanship, read H&R’s ‘The Ride’ newsletter. (Not getting it? Sign up below.)

Illustration by Navah Rae Adams

1. True or false: Your first response when your horse has a fever should be to give him a small dose of bute or Banamine to start bringing the fever down.

T / F

2. The normal range for a horse’s rectal temperature is…

A) 88.5 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit.

B) 99.5 to 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

C) 102 to 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. True or false: Sometimes “letting the fever do its natural work” is the best course of action.

T / F

4. A horse’s high fever can set off a chain of events that can lead to…

A) thrush.

B) navicular disease.

C) laminitis.

HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)

1. F is correct. Hold off on the drugs until your vet tells you what and how much to give. He or she may also want to see your horse first to assess his condition before administering any medication.

2. B is correct. Readings of 99.5 to 101.5 are considered normal. Readings of 102 to 103.5 may not indicate a serious condition, though they still merit a call to your vet. Anything over 103.5 may indicate a bacterial or viral infection of some kind and merits immediate attention from your vet.

3. F is correct. Though this approach is sometimes helpful for human patients, in the case of horses, a high fever can make them feel miserable enough to keep them from eating and drinking properly. This, in turn, can promote the risk of colic (still the leading killer of horses).

4. C is correct. Any illness that causes a high fever or serious metabolic disturbances has the potential to cause laminitis. Potomac horse fever is an example of such an illness.

[VITAL SIGNS? Learn how to check your horse’s temp and other signs.]

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