Each spring is such a glorious
time of year. As the cliché goes it is the time of renewal and birth. For us in
the miniature horse world it is the much anticipated time of foaling. Around
this time last year many of us were plotting on how to produce that perfect
foal. The stallion and mare were bred. With great anticipation we have been
waiting for more or less eleven months to see the results from our breeding
The process of birth is a
miraculous event. The common indicators of imminent birth raise our level of
anticipation. Numerous, soft bowel movements within an hour or two of foaling.
Nest building behaviors of pawing the stall bedding starts. Sometimes the mare
repeatedly yawns. The frequent pacing in circles and looking at their sides
further raises our awareness of what is coming. We are all diligent and make
sure to be in attendance. We watch the active labor start when the mare actually
lies on her side and begins the forceful contractions. We may even hear the
forceful gush of fluid as the mare's "water" breaks. We next observe the
"bubble" appear at the mare's vulva, followed shortly by the foals front legs
then head. With a few more forceful contractions, the entire foal is delivered.
We make sure the amniotic sac is broken away from the foal's head so it can
breath. The vast majority of foalings follow this typical progression. What a
But what do we do if the delivery
does not proceed in the orderly manner as described above? What are you going to
do if your mare begins active labor and one of the following things happens. 1.
The mare has been having heavy contractions for 10 minutes and you have not
witnessed the water break. 2. The mare has been having contractions and she
begins to either roll repeatedly or gets up and down and rolls after about 10
minutes of labor. 3. The bubble presents itself at the mare's vulva or you
notice a foot in the bubble but after a period of additional contractions, there
is no progress of the foal to be born.
Sooner or later this dilemma
presents itself to everyone who accepts the responsibility of foaling out
miniature horses. Chances are that if any of the three scenarios above occur, a
DYSTOCIA is taking place. This term simply means difficult birth.
Dystocias usually involve a misplacement of one or some of the foals body parts
that inhibit it from proceeding through the birth canal. Dystocia can also
result due to a foal being too large to pass through the pelvic opening of the
mare. If a dystocia occurs, the miracle of birth can turn into a heart wrenching
event, having grim consequences for the foal and mare. It is important to have a
plan of what to do in case a dystocia occurs.
One of the key steps to take in
preparation for foaling is to discuss, in advance, with your veterinarian the
course of action that would be recommended in case of suspected dystocia.
What actions a person takes in
the case of suspected dystocia is probably determined by two major issues. How
much time is it going to be between the onset of labor and when assistance
arrives? Secondly, how willing are you to take matters into your own hands if
the answer to the first question is more than about 20 minutes?
The reality is, if a foal has not
been born within 20 minutes of the onset of labor, the prospects for a live
delivery rapidly diminish. If skilled assistance is not going to be available,
you essentially have two choices. Standby until the assistance comes. The other
alternative is attempt to correct the problem yourself and perhaps save the
foal. It is a tough call!
In considering the consequences
of attempting to correct a dystocia, one needs to realize that the mare and foal
are in a serious situation. We are put into one of those "lesser of the evils"
dilemmas. If we try to help, the foal and or mare could become injured or die.
If we get the foal out the reproductive soundness of the mare may be
compromised. On the other hand. If we wait for a significant period of time for
help, all of the same consequences still exist and they can even become more
serious due to the passage of time and the increased risk of self-inflicted
trauma by the mare as she remains in the throws of labor.
The diagram above shows a typical
foaling with normal presentation and all of the important structures to
recognize. Notice that the foal is essentially contained in two saclike
structures. The outer one is the reddish PLACENTA which actually attaches to the
inner surface of the mare's uterus. The second is called the AMNIOTIC SAC. The
foal is found within this translucent white sac. The foal floats about in the
amniotic fluid. The amniotic sac floats about inside the placenta in allantoic
fluid. This is commonly called the bag of waters. Notice that when the foal
passes into the birth canal, it pushes through the placental membrane (break her
water). This causes the allantoic fluid to gush out of the mare. In most cases,
shortly (within a very few minutes) after the gush of water, the BUBBLE appears
at the vulva. As shown in the diagram, this is the amniotic sac containing the
Time is Important
From this point on, let's
consider you have had a serious discussion with your veterinarian about
dystocias, educated yourself and have decided to intervene in an attempt to save
the foal. The most valuable asset on your side is TIME. The sooner
you can determine there is a dystocia and take corrective action, the greater
chance for a successful delivery of a live foal and preservation of a healthy
There are two important
time landmarks that need to be recorded. The first is the time the
mare started into active labor contractions. The second is the time that the
mare's water breaks. Usually a mare's water will break within 5 MINUTES
of her lying down and beginning to push. Usually the bubble will appear at the
vulva within 5 MINUTES of the water breaking. If either of these time periods
pass or the mare begins repeated rolling it is definitely time to call the
veterinarian. If word comes back that assistance will not be available for more
than 15 minutes, it may be time to intervene yourself if you want any hope of
having a live foal.
When did the contractions
The first 5 minute landmark is
important because if the mare is in strong labor, having constant and active
contractions, the water should break if there is a normal foal presentation. The
only reason that the water wouldn't break is if "something" is blocking the exit
from the uterus so the water can't get out.
When did the "water" break?
The second 5 minute landmark is
important for two reasons. The bubble should be visible at the vulva within this
time frame after the water breaks. Secondly, if the bubble is present there
should be observable forward progress of the foal out of the mare. If the bubble
does not appear or the foal does not make progress toward birth, something is
keeping it from progressing through the birth canal.
Examining the mare
At this point it becomes
necessary to enter the mare's vagina to determine the position of the foal. Keep
in mind that this is an INVASIVE process. There are risks involved. Dirt and
bacteria may be introduced into the mare's reproductive tract. Care must be
taken to avoid needless trauma to the mare. Once again, it is the lesser of the
evils. Lose the foal and possibly the mare or perhaps deal with an infection. To
minimize these risks, scrubbing down the mare's hindquarters with soap and water
is important. It is important to thoroughly wash hands prior to entering the
mare (preferrably with iodine or clorhexadine( surgical scrub). Also it is
important to consider the possible damage that long fingernails and jewelry
could do to sensitive membranes of a mare. Those who are prepared for foaling
season, keep their fingernails clipped as short as possible and leave their
jewelry off until all the foals are on the ground.
Some foaling attendants choose to
use latex gloves or plastic sleeves. Others prefer to enter the mare without
gloves after scrubbing thoroughly. In any case, liberal use of lubrication is
very important. K-Y Jelly or Non-Spermicidal Lubricating Gel liberally applied
to the hand and arm entering the mare is a must.
Generally mares are easy to
enter. Their whole reproductive tract has loosened in preparation for the birth.
The birth canal (vagina) is about 6 inches long in a miniature horse. The cervix
and bony pelvic opening are next to be encountered. During the birth, it is
difficult to distinguish the fully dilated cervix since it is stretched to the
size of the birth canal. Behind these structures is the cavernous uterus.
Know your anatomy
Each dystocia situation is
potentially different so the first step to remedy the situation is to determine
exactly what the circumstances are. Keep in mind that all of this exploratory
investigation is going to be done by "braille" so to speak. It is very useful to
study the anatomy of your horses ahead of time, particularly the
differences in the way that the front and back legs move and attach by "feel".
Much of correcting a dystocia is determining whether there are front feet or
rear feet present and whether they are right side up or upside down.
There are a number of different
positions that can occur. Just about every one can be corrected if quick action
is taken. Once it is determined that there is a dystocia, one must realize that
you are "working against the tide". The mare's uterine contractions are
attempting to expel the foal. In most cases you may temporarily have to push
parts of the foal back into the mare's uterus to get them repositioned. This
requires some measure of strength and stamina. The sooner it occurs, the easier
it is to accomplish. Since there is significantly more room in the uterus than
in the vagina, most dystocias are corrected by pushing parts of the foal back
into the uterus or actually going into the uterus to retrieve a front leg, for
example. There are occasions when it may be necessary to enter the mare past
your elbow to retrieve a misplaced body part to successfully correct a dystocia.
Keep in mind that the mare's
uterus is a large muscle. Once the "water" has been broken, there is no
hydraulic pressure to prevent the uterus from contracting. The natural tendency
is for the uterus to contract around the foal much as a tube of toothpaste and
push the foal through the cervix. The more time that the uterus is allowed to
contract around the foal, the smaller the space that the foal will have to
occupy until the uterus essentially "shrink wraps" around the foal unless it is
born. For this reason it is more difficult to reposition a foal of a mare that
has been labor for a long time. This is why veterinarians who arrive after a
substantial period of labor may have few alternatives other than Caesarean
Section or fetotomy (dismemberment of the dead foal in the uterus).
There is also a loss of the
natural lubricating water if action is not taken quickly. Once again the act of
repositioning becomes more difficult due to the tendency of the membranes to dry
out over time.
When do I break the sac?
Frequently there is a discussion
of when it is appropriate to break the bubble or amniotic sac. During the
birthing process, the foal is in a period of transition. It is moving from being
totally dependent on its dam for all necessities of life through the umbilical
cord, to being totally self sufficient after birth. Whether the amniotic sac
is broken has no impact on the eventual survival of the foal. The foal must
rely on oxygen supplied by the umbilical cord while in the mare and cannot
breathe on its own until it is capable of expanding its chest after birth. The
amniotic sac does not play much of a function during the birthing process. It
does provide a slippery surface to aid the foal sliding through the birth canal.
In a dystocia, however, the amniotic sac can become a real hindrance when trying
to reposition parts of a foal. It is much easier to break the amniotic sac,
reach inside, and grab the actual structures of the foal than it is to
manipulate them through the slippery sac. Usually the sac can be torn open with
the hands to make an opening.
One useful tool to have on hand
to assist with dystocias is a 4 foot long nylon strap with a ring sewn onto each
end. If the nylon webbing is 3/8" to 1/2" in width it will work well. The strap
can be pulled through the rings to make a loop at each end. These loops can be
used as snares to be placed around legs to help with repositioning. Soaking the
strap in Chlorhexadine (Nolvasan) prior to use will help to prevent introduction
of infectious agents into the mare.
Unfortunately there is no easy
way to learn or practice resolving dystocias. They are all a "Trial by Fire"
scenario. Reading and researching on this subject are about the only
opportunities a person has to get ready until the actual situation arises. Those
who have access to the internet can find some further information on this
subject by using the various search engines and typing in "equine dystocia".
Of course libraries and perhaps even your vet may have a book that you can
borrow to pursue greater knowledge on this subject.
The diagrams that are included
here show two primary dystocia positions and the brief "textbook" procedure for
resolving the mal-presentations. One is called an ANTERIOR presentation which
simply means that the foal is coming out head first. The other is a POSTERIOR
presentation. Obviously this means the foal is coming out backward.
This particular anterior
presentation shows 2 problems. The right front foot is back and the head is
back. Essentially the dystocia is resolved in three steps. First, a strap is
placed on the left foot above the fetlock joint. This is done to prevent losing
this leg. If two loops can be made around this leg with one end of the strap the
attachment will be more secure.
Notice the upper arrow in the
second diagram. This indicates that this leg is then pushed backward toward the
mare's uterus. Secondly, take the other end of the strap in and locate the neck.
Follow it down to the head and locate the lower jaw. Place the loop over the
lower jaw. Obviously this is some distance back in the uterus. Carefully guide
the head around by applying pressure with the strap on the lower jaw. If this is
attempted early in labor it is much easier than if labor has been occurring for
some time. By applying pressure to the strap and guiding the head with a hand,
the head can rotate forward. The left front leg needs to be kept backward and in
the uterus so that there is room for the head to rotate forward, however. With
the head rotated, the same procedure is used to get the right front foot
Take a strap in, identify the
front foot by its point of attachment or manner of bending. Slip a loop over the
fetlock joint. Cup the hoof with one hand while applying pressure to the strap
with the other. Cupping the hoof prevents it from injuring the uterus as it is
rotated. Keep in mind that the leg must be lifted upward and rotated forward in
the same manner that a horse takes a forward step.
With all parts parts facing in
the right direction, the birth can take place. Using hands and straps to guide
the front legs and head out in order provides the textbook delivery.
The reality of most dystocias is
that only one body part is out of position. This scenario was provided to cover
a variety of steps with one situation. Most anterior presentations are a
variation of this procedure. A living foal is not real comfortable having its
head bent back and will more than likely be working hard to head for daylight.
If there are multiple parts out of position, one should question whether there
is a live foal in the first place. Usually this can be determined by placing a
finger in the foal's mouth or moving the leg. If the foal is alive it will
usually respond by moving its mouth or leg in response to your touch. If the
foal is dead, it may be wise to reconsider your intentions to remove the foal
and let the veterinarian do the work. Dead foals are substantially harder to
work with than live foals since there is no muscle tone and they just tend to
"flop" around in the mare.
Posterior presentations are not
as common. In this case none, one or both of the rear legs may appear at the
vulva. The first step is first to determine in fact if it is a rear leg. This is
relatively easy to do by following it up to feel whether you come to the hock
joint. Look at the diagram below and notice that with a posterior presentation
the bottom of the hooves will be pointing upward toward the mare's tail. In the
case shown, the same applies as before.
Place a strap on the one exposed
leg. Push the leg back toward the uterus and then go after the other leg by
tracing it from the hip to the hoof. Either slip a loop over the hoof or rotate
the leg so that it leg will pass backward through the cervix. Remember to cup
the hoof to avoid injuring the uterus. Also keep in mind how the rear leg of the
horse moves. The leg needs to be lifted up then straightened out backward as if
a horse was springing over a jump. This same procedure holds true if neither leg
is present. This is the "Breech" presentation. The foal's rump can actually plug
the pelvic opening and prevent the bag of waters from breaking. All you would
feel upon going into the mare is a large bump at the mouth of the cervix where
you would expect to find two feet and a nose. If you feel carefully the tail can
also be felt through the membranes.
Once both the rear feet are in
the birth canal, it is time to assist with the birth. Understand that the foal
needs oxygen to remain viable. When
the umbilical cord passes into
the vagina it will more than likely be pinched off. If the foal is not born in
short order, it will suffer from oxygen deprivation and die. Remarkably, foals
born "in reverse" seem to come out quite easily with assistance. Time is of the
essence in this situation. It is very important that the foal be removed from
the mare within a very short time to avoid serious consequences. This requires
significant intervention on the part of the foaling attendants to pull the foal
and assist with the birth to assure that the time in the birth canal is an
Other types of dystocias occur
that unfortunately we don't have pictures for but are a reality for miniature
horses. These are the "upside down foal", the "dog-sitting foal", and the "hip
Upside Down Presentation
The upside-down foal is a
situation where the foal is starting to be born in a forward position but is
trying to come out on it's back with its feet pointing toward the mare's
backbone. The natural arc of the mare's pelvic cavity and bend of the foal's
torso will not allow this birth to occur. The only option is for the foal to be
rotated 180 degrees to the normal foaling position where it is lying on it's
stomach as it comes through the birth canal. First of all it needs to be
determined whether this is a posterior delivery or an upside down delivery. In
both cases, the pads of the feet will be pointing upward. In this case, a person
will encounter the front "knees" and head with the lower jaw upside down behind
the upturned hooves. This is a difficult dystocia to resolve. In order to
accomplish it, it is necessary to guide one front leg above the head while
passing the other beneath the head. Of course all of this has to be done in the
mare's uterus. Placing a strap on one leg and having someone hold and put
pressure in the desired direction of one leg helps while a hand is used to guide
the other leg around the head in the opposite direction. If successful in
rotating the foal, the delivery of the foal will be in the normal position.
Dog-Sitting dystocias occur when
the rear hooves of the foal start through the pelvic opening before the hips of
the foal. As the foal moves out of the uterus, the rear leg(s) becomes flexed
and forms a wedge that prevents the foal from being born. This can occur with
one or both rear feet. About the only option available is to push the foal
backward partially into the uterus. Then go in beside the foal and carefully
push the rear leg(s) back into the uterus to allow the foal's hip to pass
through the mare's pelvis. These are also difficult dystocias to resolve. Lots
of lubricant and assistance is required in most cases to get this one
straightened out. There have been a couple of cases where breeders have, upon
seeing a rear foot, pulled the foot hard forward to straighten it along the body
and the dystocia has been resolved. Pulling only on the front legs without
addressing how to unlock the wedge created by the back leg(s) does little but
compound the problem when there is a "dog-sitting" dystocia.
Hip Lock is a situation where all
appears well with the foaling and then the foal just stops progressing after it
is half way out. Of course the first thing to determine is whether this is a
dog-sitting situation or a hip lock. Obviously if it was a dog-sitting dystocia,
a rear leg would be found in the vagina. No rear hoof is present with hip lock.
With all of the foals we have delivered, we have yet to experience a hip locked
foal. Below is the recommendation of one veterinarian as to how to correct the
Hip Lock situation.
"Hip lock occurs when a foal's
hips get stuck inside the bony pelvis. The mare's pelvic opening is shaped like
an oval and not a circle. This is supposed to allow for the hips to easily pass
through. If the mare is standing pull the foal downward so the hips flip up into
the pelvis and then through. If the mare is on her side, first have someone hold
the mare's tail to anchor the mares body. Pull the foal out, arching it slightly
upward toward the mare's tail and occasionally through the mare's hind legs to
pop the hips up and through. If this doesn't work, do the same but bending the
foal to one side to pull one hip through the pelvis at a time."
Although not actually a dystocia,
any discussion of high risk births would not be complete without mention of
PLACENTA PREVIA or RED BAG. As its name implies, a red bag appears at the mare
starts into active labor. Of course we are all expecting a white bubble. What is
all this about? Well it is the placenta and it has detached from the uterus
prematurely. Without the placenta attached to the uterus, the foal has no source
of oxygen. This is a critical situation for the foal. There is no time to wait.
It is imperative that the placenta be broken when it protrudes from the vulva
and the foal is given assistance to be born immediately. Oxygen deprivation
occurs in a very few minutes and unless the vet happened to be driving up your
driveway, there probably isn't any use making a call if you want to have any
chance of saving the life of the foal.
Break the placenta with your
hand. The water will probably gush out. Chances are that the foal is in normal
position just behind the placenta, either tear the amniotic sac or hold onto the
foal's legs and assist with the extraction of the foal from the mare. The foal
needs to breath very soon! If the foal does not start breathing on it's own when
it is born, straighten out its head /neck to make an air way and give the foal
mouth to NOSE breathing. Remember that horses have a very poor airway
from their mouth to their lungs. If you are successful getting air to the
lungs, you should be able to see the foal's chest rise with each breath. If you
are present for the beginning of the foaling process and you know when the mare
started into active labor, the red bag situation usually works out well if you
act immediately and get the foal out and breathing. If you find a mare who has
been in labor (how long is unknown) and a red bag is present you may or may not
have a successful result. All the more reason to be in attendance for every
It can be very advantageous to
stand a mare up when attempting to resolve a dystocia. Obviously some mares will
not stand up while in labor but many will. If it is possible to get the mare to
her feet, gravity becomes a great help. The mare's organs and the foal tend to
settle back toward her abdomen. In many cases this can provide just enough room
to allow the foaling attendant to reposition the foal and achieve a successful
birth. Of course the contractions will continue and this is the most difficult
issue to deal with while attempting to reposition a foal.
Veterinarians can take advantage
of medications to help themselves with the resolving a dystocia. Most highly
experienced reproductive veterinarians will take two similar procedures to
resolve a dystocia. First they will administer drugs that will sedate the mare
and stop the uterine contractions. We have seen this done by the administration
of gas in the surgical theatre. In the field or barn environment, we have seen
the veterinarians use a combination of Rompun and Ketamine.
Once the contractions have been
halted by the veterinarin, the typical procedure is to use some form of "the
mare in the air". In most cases, a bale of hay is used and a piece of plywood is
layed upon it to form a ramp. The mare is turned on her back with her hips in
the uphill position. The mare is then generously lubricated internally and the
repositioning of the foal is made.
The topic of dystocia is
certainly not the most upbeat that can be addressed, however, it is a reality
that everyone who intends on raising foals needs to be aware of. Whether you as
the owner of a broodmare choose to intervene in the case of a dystocia is a
value judgement you must personally determine. There are risks involved for your
horse at foaling time. It can definitely be a life and death circumstance
whether you intervene or choose to wait for professional help.
Fortunately the vast majority of
foalings are natural events where we can simply behold the wonder of nature.
Being prepared for those occasional births that don't follow the "textbook",
however, can increase your chances for positive results.
For further information on this
subject you may want to do an
Internet search using words such
Mini's Higher Rate
of Dystocia than a Horse
Works Parkway • Lexington, KY 40511
Phone: 859-233-0147 • Fax: 859-233-1968
The American Miniature Horse is a curious, intelligent and delightful breed
that has been selectively bred down in size from larger breeds while
maintaining as near-perfect conformation as possible. Despite their small
size, these horses are not dwarves or runts, but well-proportioned mini
horses. Care of the Miniature Horse is nearly the same as that of the larger
breeds but on a much smaller scale with regard to feed, deworming doses,
medication, etc. Although these tiny equines appear as smaller replicas of
the larger breeds and share many similarities, minis seem to be more
susceptible to certain health problems than their full-sized cousins. This
article is intended to point out the most commonly noted conditions that
afflict the Miniature Horse preferentially as compared to larger breeds of
Many new Miniature Horse owners join the “mini world” with lots of
experience in a larger breed of equidae. Although most are aware of the
smaller portions of feed that a smaller horse would require, some owners
find it very difficult to feed such a small amount of grain and hay or limit
the amount of grazing on pasture to their lovable companions. Miniature
Horses are very easy to overfeed due to their small size and metabolism, and
as a result, many minis tend to be obese. Obesity in horses, whether large
or small, can predispose to laminitis (founder), poor performance, and
decreased reproductive efficiency. Strict feeding recommendations based on
your Miniature Horse lifestyle should be accurately assessed, planned and
followed to avoid excess body condition; this can be accomplished by
contacting your veterinarian or a representative from one of the feed
Hyperlipidemia is a condition that Miniature Horses are well-known for
although it also affects ponies and donkeys. In short, hyperlipidemia (or
hyperlipemia) is a disorder of lipid metabolism that may lead to fatty
infiltration of the liver, clinical signs of liver disease, loss of appetite
and, ultimately, death. The disease often occurs in obese individuals that
are stressed, anorectic (off-feed), pregnant or lactating. It frequently
develops following a primary illness of several days duration such as
diarrhea, endotoxemia, parasitism, pituitary tumor or neonatal septicemia,
but can occur any time a horse is unable to satisfy its own metabolic energy
needs (late gestation, early lactation, hormonal imbalance, etc). Affected
horses usually will begin with anorexia and lethargy, progressing to
incoordination, abdominal pain, head pressing, circling, diarrhea,
convulsions and death. It is important for owners and veterinarians alike to
always suspect hyperlipidemia in any obese mini with severe depression,
anorexia, neurological signs, and icterus (jaundice). Owners may prevent
this condition by providing appropriate nutrition while avoiding obesity,
stress and engaging in good routine health care.
Miniature horses seem to be more susceptible to colic than full-sized
horses, which is possibly the result of incorrect grinding of feed due to
poor teeth, consumption of poor-quality coarse hay or inadequate water
consumption (an average adult mini should consume 2 to 4 gallons of water
per day depending on their size and the ambient temperature). The small
colon is the most common site of disease in Miniature Horses, and impaction
is the most common cause of colic either due to fecalith (hardened fecal
ball), enterolith (mineralized intestinal content) or undigested feed.
Another problem is that colic in these small equines can be a major
diagnostic challenge. One reason for this is that rectal palpation is
limited to the most caudal portion of the abdomen due to the small size of
the pelvis in comparison to full-sized horses. Another challenge is that
the clinical signs seen in Miniature Horses are frequently not the classic
colic symptoms seen in full-sized horses in that some may only show
depression and anorexia. Nevertheless, most of the medical treatment
protocols for colic are the same in Miniature Horses (flunixin meglumine,
mineral oil and feed withdrawal); however, it is important to remember that
they are particularly susceptible to hyperlipidemia and should therefore not
be held off feed any longer than is necessary.
Many Miniature Horse owners are involved in breeding since
there is less of a focus on using them for riding or performance purposes.
Unfortunately, the incidence of dystocia (difficult births) in the Miniature
breed is much higher (15 to 20 percent) than full-sized breeds (2 to 4
percent). This may be due to fetopelvic disparity (the small size of the
mare’s pelvis and a disproportionately large fetus) or fetal
malpresentations (abnormal presentation, posture or position of the fetus)
caused by the small amount of space within the uterus for the fetus to move
during parturition. Regardless of the cause of the dystocia, once
difficulties arise, it is even more difficult to correct the problem due to
the difficulty with manual manipulations of the fetus because of the small
size. Dystocia is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.
Miniature Horses often have more problems with their teeth than do larger
breeds of horses. Most likely, this is due to the small size of their heads
along with the presence of the same number of teeth as found in a full-sized
horse which leads to overcrowding of the teeth. As a result, tooth wear may
be uneven and predispose Miniature Horses to colic. Additionally, retained
deciduous teeth (retained caps) and chronic sinus infections are commonly
associated with dental overcrowding. Thus, routine dental examinations and
care one to twice a year are strongly recommended.
Among other medical issues that preferentially afflict the Miniature breed
are dwarfism, upward fixation of the patella (“locked stifle”), increased or
decreased sensitivity to drugs and vaginal adhesions.
Article provided courtesy of Purdue University’s “Equine Health Update”
Higher Rate of Dystocia than a Horse
Friesian mares: Prevalence, causes and
outcome following caesarean section
C. M.de Bruijn,
T. A. E.Stout†‡
Hospital, Stellingenweg 10, 8474 EA
Oldeholtpade, The Netherlands;
of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary
Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 114,
3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands; and ‡University
of Pretoria, Faculty of Veterinary Science,
Onderstepoort, South Africa.
horses appear to suffer a relatively high
incidence of dystocia but there are, to the
authors' knowledge, no published reports on
the incidence or types of dystocia in
Friesian horses. A retrospective survey of
clinical details and post treatment recovery
was performed for 66 mares referred to
Wolvega Equine Hospital for dystocia during
2001–2006. Friesian mares appear to be
particularly prone to dystocia due to fetal
ankylosis or transverse presentation.
However, despite dystocia of relatively long
duration prior to caesarean section, post
operative survival and fertility of mares
and, more surprisingly, survival of foals
were similar to those reported in surveys
for other breeds.