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Discussion Starter #1
For those with a stethoscope, which brand do you have, and do you like it? My boy had a colic scare last April and he seemed off a couple nights ago, but I struggled to find his pulse so I'm going to buy a stethoscope. An article I was reading recommended the Littmann Classic. Some people say the Littmann Lightweight is good too. What do you think?
 

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I volunteered at an endurance ride last summer and had terrible trouble finding the heartbeat with a stethoscope. The more experienced volunteers recommended going to a medical supply shop and buying the best one you could find there, avoiding any of the lightweight options. Even borrowing one of those high powered options from another volunteer, I have to admit I still struggled with consistently being able to find the heartbeat, even on horses that were pulsing down from the intense exercise of an endurance ride. My trouble seemed to be distinguishing gut sounds from the actual heartbeat. Since you're interested in keeping track of your own horse only, it should be a little easier- you'll be able to play around with him until you're sure you're actually hearing the heartbeat and then you'll learn where to place the stethoscope on him specifically- turns out that placement varies widely from horse to horse.

You're smart to get one though. Will be curious to hear what brands folks recommend as I'd like to get one to practice more with my own horses.
 

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I'm an emts soon to be paramedic. I use a litmann on the ambulance. Never used one to find the heartbeat on a horse though. Usually I'll palpate a pulse
 

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I don't know how "correct" it is but I always feel the pulse under the jaw bones.... or in the leg but that's not good (one of my horses is laminitic so bad joke lol)
 

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I see great differences in stethoscopes even when they are the same brand! What I would suggest is to go into a medical supply store and try some out. I did that to find the one I could hear heartrates best.

Amazingly the one that works really well is our disposable stethoscopes that are used for isolation patients. I scrubbed a couple up that were from patients that only had histories of isolation, not current, and use them for the horses. Works great and costs nothing :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I volunteered at an endurance ride last summer and had terrible trouble finding the heartbeat with a stethoscope. The more experienced volunteers recommended going to a medical supply shop and buying the best one you could find there, avoiding any of the lightweight options. Even borrowing one of those high powered options from another volunteer, I have to admit I still struggled with consistently being able to find the heartbeat, even on horses that were pulsing down from the intense exercise of an endurance ride. My trouble seemed to be distinguishing gut sounds from the actual heartbeat. Since you're interested in keeping track of your own horse only, it should be a little easier- you'll be able to play around with him until you're sure you're actually hearing the heartbeat and then you'll learn where to place the stethoscope on him specifically- turns out that placement varies widely from horse to horse.

You're smart to get one though. Will be curious to hear what brands folks recommend as I'd like to get one to practice more with my own horses.

So strange! I wonder how often it's our error vs the horse's body, by what you have said. I will have to see if I can find the pulse on my mare with just my fingers. It was also really cold and my fingers were frozen, so it's possible that was the issue with my gelding. :lol:

You should get one! It’s probably a must in any emergency kit.


I'm an emts soon to be paramedic. I use a litmann on the ambulance. Never used one to find the heartbeat on a horse though. Usually I'll palpate a pulse
Thank you! I will probably go with a Littman then.

I don't know how "correct" it is but I always feel the pulse under the jaw bones.... or in the leg but that's not good (one of my horses is laminitic so bad joke lol)
I think it is absolutely a correct way to check for a pulse! I tried to find his pulse there, but he moves his head way too much, and couldn’t find it on his leg.

I see great differences in stethoscopes even when they are the same brand! What I would suggest is to go into a medical supply store and try some out. I did that to find the one I could hear heartrates best.

Amazingly the one that works really well is our disposable stethoscopes that are used for isolation patients. I scrubbed a couple up that were from patients that only had histories of isolation, not current, and use them for the horses. Works great and costs nothing
That’s two suggestions for stopping at a medical supply. I think there is one close to me, surprisingly, so I may do that! You’re lucky you get them for free! :cool:
 

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Littman is the best brand IMO. I don't care for the "light" models, they just aren't very good and the prices reflect the quality. I wouldn't necessarily recommend one of the very highest end ones, all you need is a horse getting upset and trashing a $400 stethoscope! But a good quality, middle of the road one would be a Classic III for around $100. They'll personalize them with engraving too.
 

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Oh and to throw out my stethoscope is a hot pink one that was $5. I don't use it for the horses (it's more just to have it as I don't want to "mishear" anything as I don't have training) but when I have used it I can hear great.
 

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Littman master classic is a good one. Expect to spend around $100 unless you can find one used. it is worth it to get a good one. The heart rate isn't hard to hear on a horse. Just be patient and don't try to hard to hear it or you won't. Remember their heart rate is much slower than ours so you have to wait longer than you think.
 
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