People new to the Fell Pony breed often ask if there are breed-specific health issues they should know about. We are so fortunate with this breed that these ponies are so tough and hardy and generally very healthy. There are of course the common (and usually preventable) health issues with easy keepers such as founder and Equine Metabolic Syndrome. And then there is our breed-specific problem of Foal Immunodeficiency Syndrome (FIS).
FIS is usually just a concern if someone wants to breed their Fell Pony. It affects foals from 8 to 12 weeks of age and can be avoided by not breeding two carriers of the condition to each other. We know now of course that FIS isn’t specific to the Fell Pony; it has also been identified in the closely-related Dales Pony and Gypsy Horse. And we are fortunate now to have the FIS carrier test so that breeders can make informed decisions where FIS is concerned.
There are certainly implications for the future of the breed due to the presence of FIS and the availability of the test. To read more about these implications and for more detail about FIS in the Fell Pony, click here.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2018
You can learn about the Fell Pony breed, including about FIS and its implications, in the book Fell Ponies: Observations on the Breed, the Breed Standard, and Breeding, available internationally by clicking here or on the book cover.