23rd January 2015
A little horse with a BIG story to tell
Meet our new pal Snoopy. Now this little gal is indeed sweet, petite and cute to boot and we are certain she is set to melt your heart just as she has ours. However, little Snoopy also has a big story to tell on behalf of her kind. You see, Snoopy, a teeny tiny palomino filly is a miniature horse; a breed that is sometimes referred to the ultimate game of Russian Roulette due to the high risk of birth defects that can result from breeding small with small. As renowned author and Professor of Animal Science, Temple Grandin states, “If you over-select for a single trait, you are going to cause problems in the animal.” And unfortunately for dear little Snoopy, she is a living example of this in action, displaying the effects and characteristics of dwarfism.
Dwarfism is “underdevelopment of the body characterized by an abnormally short stature often with underdeveloped limbs and other defects” and is most prevalent in the Miniature Horse breed. For example in the US, it is estimated that around 60% of Miniature Horses carry and/ or express some form of dwarfism.
And while it is undeniable that Snoopy’s big bug eyes and knock knees endear her even more to all who spy her, this condition is the cause of a number of health concerns. Whilst there are four recorded types of equine dwarfism, each varying in their severity, all can lead to serious, if not fatal consequences.
Arthritis is the most common complaint, whilst ligament disorders, obstructed nasal passages, misaligned jaws, shortened life expectancy and organ damage are all very real for animals suffering different stages of dwarfism.
And whilst Snoopy’s complications are relatively mild in comparison to some, along with our dedicated veterinary team, we are prepared to care for her and keep her comfortable for all of her days to come. Never will she be bred with, be asked to pull a cart or be put through any form of undue stress. It is love, kindness and all the TLC she could ever care for from here on in for dear little Snoopy.