Snickers the miniature horse is giving back, having just recovered from life-saving surgery at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center.
Wearing a Santa hat and standing next to the distinctive Salvation Army red kettle outside a Maryland grocery store, the 2-year-old horse is boosting donations for those in need.
“This is a great way to show how animals and people can work together,” said Kelly Reiter, whose family rescued Snickers and brought him to live at their Flying Duck Farm Horse Sanctuary near Randallstown, Md.
Snickers made his first appearance with the kettle the first week of December at the Safeway in Eldersburg, Md., and then again on Dec. 14 and 21.
“It’s definitely making a difference. People really enjoyed having him there,” said Janice Veney, director of the Salvation Army’s Carroll County Service Center, noting that the kettle brought in $350 the first day Snickers was there, much more than expected.
Reiter calls Snickers her “little miracle mini.” She rescued Snickers last year. The previous owner, who was keeping him in a garden shed, was going to euthanize him because he had locking stifles, which causes horses to drag their back legs. The Reiter’s local vet performed corrective surgery and the family was able to bring Snickers back to health.
One day in September, Snickers was sluggish, refused to eat, and later started rolling around, obviously in pain. Their local veterinarian was dealing with a family emergency, Reiter said, and other vets did not want to take on an emergency colic case.
“I told my husband that we had to get him to New Bolton Center,” Reiter said.
“When Snickers arrived at New Bolton, he was very quiet and persistently showed signs of colic, including trying to roll,” said Sarah Peters, VMD, an intern in the New Bolton Center Department of Clinical Studies. “His abdomen was tremendously distended, which also indicated a problem in his gastrointestinal tract.”
Surgery was recommended and the Reiters agreed. Janet Johnston, DVM, performed the surgery, which revealed Snickers’ colon was impacted with a tremendous amount of hair, as well as hay and feed.
The hairball weighed 32 pounds. “It was a lot, even for a regular-sized horse,” Dr. Peters said.
Reiter explained that Snickers loves to “groom” his horse companions. Dr. Peters cautioned Reiter to limit Snickers’ ingestion of hair. As a result, she separates him from the other horses when needed and also is blanketing them.
Snickers, now noticeably slimmer, is fully recovered.
“He is just amazing. Everything healed wonderfully,” Reiter said. “I am extremely pleased with how everything was handled. The vets took extremely good care of him. They listened to me. I really love New Bolton Center.”