While there are many excellent books about the health and welfare of full-sized horses, up until now there has been little in the way of veterinary information specifically for owners and breeders of Miniature horses.
When Miniature horse owner Kim Sweatt suggested that her veterinarian, Rebecca Frankeny, VMD, write a book on the subject, the wheels started rolling.
The result is Miniature Horses – A Veterinary Guide for Owners and Breeders.
The book is an excellent resource, covering all aspects of Miniature horse care, including very detailed sections on Miniature horse anatomy, reproduction and nutrition.
As stated in the introduction, the book is not designed as a “how to be your own veterinarian” type of book. The author emphasizes the importance of a good working relationship with an experienced veterinarian. However, the author notes that “the veterinarian’s most important partner is a knowledgable, observant horse owner.” It is to that end that the book is geared – creating knowledgable and observant Miniature Horse owners.
The book is nicely laid out, with sections covering the musculoskeletal system, the respiratory system, the teeth and jaws, the intestines, the liver, reproduction, and nutrition, In each chapter, you’ll find detailed diagrams, photographs and radiographs to illustrate the various topics.
Special care is taken to point out both the similarites and differences between full-sized horses and Miniature horses. There are times when it can be dangerous to treat Miniature Horses the same as you would treat a full-sized horse, as the book emphasizes.
For example, did you know that while all horses often lose their appetite when they are ill, in Miniature Horses this is potentially life-threatening because they can very quickly succumb to hepatic lipidosis, a form of liver failure that can occur when the horse stops eating?
Conversely, there are a number of conditions regularly seen in full-sized horses that are rarely seen in Miniature Horses, such as navicular disease and osteochondrosis.
Appendix A lists the normal physical parameters of Miniature Horses, which gives you an excellent baseline against which to monitor your horse’s health.
Appendix C lists the clinical signs of disease, including a variety of symptoms along with the possible causes.
This is the sort of book that you can sit and read through, even if you don’t own a Miniature Horse — it makes intriguing reading. But even more, it is a vital resource for anyone involved in the care and breeding of minis.
Dr. Rebecca Frankeny has spent her whole life around horses. She spent twelve years in the racing industry, working as exercise rider, groom and eventually trainer. She attended veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania where she first encountered Miniature Horses and their unique medical concerns. She has since had 10 years experience working with Miniature Horses, including a three-year equine surgery residency at the University of Missouri.
She currently lives in Reno, Nevada, where she is the surgeon at Comstock Large Animal Hospital, as well as being an adjunct faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she teaches equine medicine.
Miniature Horses: A Veterinary Guide for Owners and Breeders is published by Trafalgar Square Publishing, Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053 USA and may be purchased online at the Equine Collection