Horse Myths Debunked – Hot & Cold Blooded Horses Have A Difference In Body Temperature

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Horse Myths Debunked Hot and Cold Blooded Horses

By: Dr. Kris Hiney

Hot and cold-blooded horse have a difference in body temperature. …
While it might be fun to imagine wide swings in body temperature between types of horses, that just isn’t true. Hot and cold blooded horses run the same temperature – good old average 100.5 Fahrenheit. Hot and cold blooded instead refers to the type or breeding of the horses, but these terms do have some correlations to environmental temperatures. Cold blooded horses have a heavier more compact body morphology which is more efficient at retaining heat in colder climates. Think draft horses – Shires, Clydesdales, Belgians. By comparison, the hot blooded horses have a more slender physique that is geared towards greater heat dissipation through finer skin, larger nostrils etc. Arabians and Thoroughbreds easily fall into this group. Hot blooded horses are typically thought of as more reactive or “hotter” horses, while cold blooded horses are usually much calmer and laid back. Hot blooded horses run metabolically a bit “hotter,” often being much harder keepers than their efficient cold blooded cousins. While not different in body temperature, researchers have attempted to standardize “normal” hematological values for different breeds or types of horses including Barbs, primitive breeds, hot or light horse breeds and cold blooded or draft type horses. The hot horses have higher red blood cell counts, hemoglobin, packed cell volume and total blood volume compared to the gentle giants. Hot blooded horses even have higher white blood cells than cold blooded horses, but temperature remains the same. In both types of horses, elevated temperatures are due to exercise, illness or heat stress and it is important to always learn normal for your horse.

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