The issue of miniature horse health need not be a major one
within the miniature horse breeding and owning community. Miniature horses are, on the whole, healthy animals. They have their diseases that are common to them and it is important to be able to recognize them as soon as possible. People who are considering buying a miniature horse as a pet should be aware of the fact that miniature horse health is an issue that should not be taken lightly. Before taking the step, they should make sure that their a veterinarian within reasonable distance from their home, and one who has previous hands on knowledge of taking care of miniature horses.
The reason why having an expert of miniature horse health close to hand, is that veterinary care can be very expensive and rapid diagnosis will not only reduce the animal’s suffering considerably, but also cost a lot less. Breeders who have been around miniature horses for a while will be capable of recognizing early symptoms or the maladies that can affect miniature horses. Owners may well find it a little more difficult. The first and major give away sign that the horse may not be feeling well is when their appetite begins to diminish, even slightly. Inviting a house call from the vet may be a wise investment.
The common problems that may affect the health of a miniature horse as far as its physical appearance is concerned can be as follows:
Miniature horses are very liable to suffer from contracted tendons in their legs; this will be indicated by the horse’s hoof or hooves beginning to rock backwards. As soon as this genetic fault is recognized, simple and inexpensive corrective surgery should be carried out to ease the miniature horses suffering.
Miniature horses can also suffer from a condition known as Locking stifles. Locking stifles are marked by the miniature horse knee or knees becoming locked, causing the horse major difficulty in walking. Again all that is required to put the miniature horse back on track is a simple veterinary medical procedure.
A condition which from the outset seems as equally uncomplicated as those laid out above at the outset is displacement of the shoulder (Shoulder dysplasia). If diagnosed, the vet will recommend a course of injections of Adaquin which is a pain killer. If the vet still detects signs of distress then the option of surgery is the only one that remains. The difference is that the surgery involved correcting Shoulder dysplasia is a major corrective procedure that can cost in excess of £5,000.
Other ailments that can have an effect on miniature horse health that are less obvious to the eye yet can be more life threatening than those above are:
Breathing problems: Certain breeds of miniature horses are susceptible to potentially fatal genetically induced respiratory problems. If an owner suspects that their horse’s breathing is labored, then they should contact their vet immediately.
Stomach problems: If a miniature horse begins to grind its teeth or begins to lie on its back with its leg in the air, this is a sign that their stomach is bothering them, and may even be suffering from a stomach ulcer. Again a call to the vet is called for and as soon as possible.
Miniature horse choke: If your horse begins to show signs of distress manifested in coughing, gulping and discharge from the nose, then the horse may be suffering from the effects of Miniature horse choke. The disease usually affects older horses, which have lost their ability to chew. If the food that that is choking them does not clear naturally, the vet will need to pay a visit to extract the foreign body using a vacuum tube.
These are the more common problems that an owner may encounter relating to miniature horse health. There are other diseases that can occur, more serious but equally rare. The owner should keep their “finger on the pulse” for any changes in the horse’s appearance and behavior, especially when it comes to diet. The importance of having an experienced vet near by cannot be emphasized enough