12 Miniature Horse Health Risks

“They might fit into the back of the Suburban or even hang out in the living room, but Miniature Horses need to be cared for like any other horse.”

By Sallie S. Hyman, VMD, Dipl. ACVIM, CVA

They might fit into the back of the Suburban or even hang out in the living room, but Miniature Horses need to be cared for like any other horse. Minis have the same health needs and risks as other breeds, as well as a number of more unique issues. Here are 12 medical conditions common in Miniature Horses.

1. Angular limb deformities

These are deviations from a limb’s normal axis as viewed from the front or behind. Minis are often born with (in other words, it’s congenital) severely crooked legs, which can cause difficulty walking, abnormal hoof wear, and discomfort. Surgery can correct some deformities. 

2. Upward fixation of the patella

With this condition, the patella (kneecap), which is part of the stifle joint, gets hung up on the femur’s medial trochlea (a protrusion on the inner part, above the patella) and “locks” the stifle in extension—basically, this looks like a stiff, outstretched leg. Usually, the horse can eventually “unlock” the patella by backing up. In some extreme cases both hind limbs are affected and the Mini stands parked out and unable to move forward. Treatment includes blistering, splitting, or cutting the medial patellar ligament that connects the kneecap to the tibia below.

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