Rectal Temperature

Rectal temperature, respiratory rate, and heart rate are easily elevated in the anxious small ruminant.  Normal rectal temperatures range from 101.5 - 104.0F.  Temperatures may reach 104.5F in a full fleeced animal on a hot day or animals that have been trucked to you for exam.  As the animal becomes more anxious the temperature will elevate.  Comparison to a normal flock or herdmate is advisable if you are finding interpretation difficult.  Hypothermia/hypoglycemia complex commonly found in neonates will often yield a rectal temperature of less than 90F.  In these cases, the rectal temperature will not register on most rectal thermometers.  

Normal pulse rates range from 70-90 and normal resting respiratory rates range from 12-20.  In the excited patient, rates will be elevated.  On hot days, respiratory rates often approach 60 justifying the importance in assessing respiratory rate in the animal "over the fence".  It may also be prudent to assess respiratory rates at rest and after exercise since forced exercise may likely bring out signs of chronic pneumonia (coughing and open mouth breathing.)


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Copyright 1999-2001
New Bolton Center Field Service Department
Students:  Keith Javic - Class of 2003, C. Nikki Conroy - Class of 2003