Poll Recap: Genetic Disease Testing

Poll Recap: Genetic Disease Testing

Photo: Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Chances are you’re probably heard about certain equine genetic disease acronyms like HYPP (hyperkalemic periodic paralysis), PSSM (polysaccharide storage myopathy), and SCIDS (severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome). Some breeds of horses are more susceptible to these genetic diseases. But how do you really know if your Quarter Horse has HYPP, or your Arabian mare has the recessive gene for SCIDS?

In last week’s online poll, we asked our readers if they’ve ever had their horses tested for a genetic disease or disorder. More than 250 people responded and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 270 respondents, only 74 people (27%) have had a horse tested for a genetic disorder or disease. The remaining 196 respondents (73%) have not.

Additionally more than 35 commented about their experiences with equine genetic testing:

Several people commented about what they’ve tested their horse for:

  • “My horse is from the Impressive line. We had HYPP testing done and it showed double negative”
  • “We tested for PSSM and HYPP. It turned out to be EMND (equine motor neuron disease) due to low Vitamin E, but she's fine now!”
  • “We tested a HYPP foal from N/h mare (from Impressive lines).”
  • “Yes, I tested for HYPP.”
  • “I had my horse tested for PSSM. Her half-sister had it, so I tested just to be sure she was clear.”
  • “I have had all of my breeding stock checked for SCIDS, LFS (lavender foal syndrome), and CA (cerebellar abiotrophy).”
  • “I have had six of my Arabians tested for CA and SCIDS.”
  • “Not my personal horse but one in our barn was suspected of having HYPP, but all testing was negative.”
  • “I didn't realize the trainer sold me a horse that had Impressive breeding. Testing showed he's N/H.”
  • “For relevant breeds, I require tests prior to purchase. Any horse being bred should always be tested.”
  • “I do an AQHA five-test panel—GBED (glycogen-branching enzyme disorder), HERDA (hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia), HYPP, MH (malignant hyperthermia), and PSSM—for potential breeding animals.”
  • “I had a filly tested for HYPP back in the early `90s thru UC Davis.”
  • “I tested my Appendix Quarter Horse for PSSM, and the test was negative. Turns out it was sore muscles from Lyme disease—easy to treat!”
  • “I had my stallion tested for SCIDS. Thankfully he was negative!”
  • “I tested for HYPP. My Paint filly has lines to the Quarter Horse Impressive.”
  • “My horse has PSSM Type 1 that's been successfully managed since year 2010”
  • “I tested my Quarter Horse using a four-panel: PSSM, MH, GBED, and HERDA.”
  • “I had two horses in a study to find a genetic link for insulin resistance.”
  • “I had my horse, a Peruvian Paso, tested for DSLD (degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis).”
  • “I had my horse tested for alopecia areata.”

A few others shared general comments:

  • “I don't own one of the breeds prone to genetic disorders, like HYPP.”
  • “No, but if I were a breeder I would. Right now, I just have trail horses.”
  • “All breeders have a moral obligation to do any genetic test that applies or potentially applies.” 

Want to learn more about equine genetic diseases and testing? You can find additional information on breed-related genetic disorders such as hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), and polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM); learn about genetic testing in horses, and hear about some of the latest research on equine inherited diseases and conditions at TheHorse.com. 

This week, we want to know: Have you ever rehabilitated an injury in your horse? Vote now and tell us about your experiences at TheHorse.com/polls

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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