This section is from the book "The Farmers Ready Reference Or Hand Book Of Diseases Of Horses And Cattle", by S. C. Orr. . Also available from Amazon: The Farmer's Ready Reference;.
In order to facilitate the understanding and carrying-out of the instructions given in the succeeding pages, a few hints are necessary, upon the recognition of disease, the nursing of patients, and the administering of medicines.
Before anyone can readily recognize the symptoms of disease it is first necessary to become thoroughly acquainted with the habits, actions, and general appearance of our domesticated animals in a state of health. It is not necessary that a horse should be loaded with fat to be healthy; but there is a sleek, thrifty appearance of the coat; a clear, bright look of the eye; a strong, elastic step, and a good and regular appetite, all of which are indications of a healthy condition; while, on the other hand, a rough, staring coat, a dull, listless eye, a sluggish, tottering gait, a poor or irregular appetite, are all signs, either of disease of the animal or of bad management on the part of the attendant, and demand an investigation at once as to the cause. The pulse, which may be found at the angle of the lower jaw where the artery passes to the outside of the jawbone, is an indicator of the condition of the animal's health. The normal beat of the pulse is from thirty-six to forty per minute; anything above forty is indicative of fever. The respirations, also, should be taken into consideration. When the animal is in health and free from excitement, the number of respirations per minute are from ten to fifteen: anything beyond fifteen being a deviation from the normal. The temperature is ascertained by inserting a clinical thermometer into the rectum for two or three minutes. The normal temperature of the horse is 98.5 degrees Fahrenheit. A degree above the normal is not generally looked upon as anything serious; but a rise of several degrees is a sure sign of a fevered condition of the system.