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Adolescent Mini Health Issues

A Mini yearlings Biggest Challenge is

Luxation of the patella

There are many important differences between full-sized horses and miniature horses with respect to the musculoskeletal system.

More common musculoskeletal problem in miniature foals than in full size-foals is luxation of the patella (knee cap).

Because miniature foals reach their growth potential a younger age than full-sized foals, growth abnormalities must be resolved at an earlier age.

Anatomy – What it is 

Luxation of the patella (knee cap) is a disease where the patella becomes dislocated from its normal position in the stifle. Most frequently, it slips laterally out of its position in between the trochlear ridges to the outside of the stifle although medial dislocation is possible. This condition can be seen in adult miniature horses secondary to trauma, but more commonly, it is congenital abnormality that is evident within the first few months of life. In congenital luxation, one stifle may be affected, but usually both stifles are involved. Congenital patellar luxation is more common in miniature horses than other breeds. In fact the majority of cases reported in the veterinary literature have been in miniature horses.


Causes - We described some, here’s a few more…

There are two possible causes of patellar luxation-trauma and lateral trochlear ridge hypoplasia. Traumatic patellar luxation occurs due to tearing of the supporting soft tissues of the medial aspect of the joint (the joint capsule and medial patellar ligament). This weakens the medial support of the patella allowing it to shift out of the trochlear groove to the outside of the joint. Lateral trochlear ridge hypoplasia is a congenital deformity where the lateral trochlear ridge is flatter and smaller than normal resulting in a shallow trochlear groove for the patella. The patella can then easily slip out of the groove to the outside of the joint. In some foals, tearing of the medial supporting soft tissues is seen in conjunction with lateral trochlear ridge hypoplasia, probably secondary to the lateral displacement of the patella.


Diagnosis - What it looks like

Diagnosis of traumatic luxation of the patella is made based on the history of a recent injury followed by severe rear-limb lameness. The patella can be felt sitting lateral to the stifle joint, and radiographs can be taken to confirm the diagnosis. Then clinical signs of lateral trochlear ridge hypoplasia depend on the severity of the conditions. The foal may walk with a stiff gait, unwilling to bend the stifle. In severe cases, the foal may not be able to stand or can only stand for short periods of time with the stifle in a flexed position. Like traumatic luxation, the patella can be felt sitting lateral to the stifle and x-rays are used to confirm the luxation. X-rays are also useful to evaluate the degree of lateral trochlear ridge hypoplasia and to determine if secondary damage to the joint is present.


Treatment - What to do

Surgical treatment of luxation of the patella is recommended. If the condition is not treated, severe, crippling arthritis will develop. It is important that surgery be performed as soon as possible after the luxation has been diagnosed to decrease the risk of secondary arthritis.


Prognosis - What it means to your baby

The most common cause of failure of these surgeries is disruption of the repair and relocation of the patella during recovery from anesthesia. This is less of a problem with miniature horses because their small size results in less strain on the repair. Miniature horses can easily be helped to their feet without the risk of injury to the people providing assistance. As a result these surgeries carry a much better prognosis for success in miniature horses.


Support - What you can do to help 

To help support your miniature horse yearling with luxation of the patella is to make sure he is getting the right nutrients in the right amounts at the right time. Organic Horse supplement “Develop” supplies your miniature horse yearling with the necessary nutrients; vitamins, minerals, protein, omega fatty acids and antioxidants that he might be missing in his diet. Feeding a complete supplement will ensure your miniature horse yearling gets the nutrients is needs to develop into mature healthy miniature horse. Organic Horse supplements are multipurpose wellness supplements that cleanse, restore and nourish the miniature horse yearlings’ whole body.  

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