VetGen Announces $45 Price Reduction For SCID Test In Arabian Horses

VetGen, L.L.C., a pioneering veterinary genetics services and research company, announces a $45 dollar reduction in the price for the test for the Severe Combined Immunodeficiency “SCID” gene in Arabian horses. The test was previously priced at $185 per horse and can now be purchased for $140. Further reductions for herd discounts were made consisting of $125 for 206 horses, $110 for 7-15, and $99 for 16 or more.

The test unequivocally determines if an animal is affected, a carrier, or clear of the mutant gene for SCID. As carriers can now be identified, the major and most important implication is that there is no guesswork in avoiding SCID in offspring.

Since SCID in an autosomal recessive disease, matings between two clear horses as well as matings between a clear and a carrier animal will never produce an affected foal. By definition, carriers of genes for autosomal recessive disorders are completely free of clinical signs of the disease. That is, carriers do not have any negative consequences to their health or performance. If two carriers are mated, there is a 25% chance that the foal will be clear, 50% chance that it will be a carrier, and a 25% chance that it will be affected, a chance not worth taking. Prior to the advent of molecular genetic testing for autosomal recessive disorders, the only way an animal was identified as a carrier was when he or she produced an affected foal. The traditional recommendation in veterinary medicine would be gelding of these animals to prevent other affected foals being produced. However, this is no long necessary and not in the best interest of the breed. Carrier animals that have all the desirable traits for which the breed is known can now be mated to other tested animals that are clear and then never produce an affected foal. Similarly, their offspring can be tested and appropriate matings set up in the next generations without the breed ever suffering the loss of another foal to SCID. In this manner, the breed still continues to benefit from all of the outstanding traits that a carrier animal may possess. Thus, the economic value of the animal should not be affected by being clear or carrier.

Testing is easy and highly accurate, and can be performed at any point in time in the life of the horse with a simple cheek swab or a blood sample. The cost of testing is a small fraction of the value invested in the animal. There is no reason to gamble on fate. All breeding animals need to be tested to avoid major losses and heartache to the humans and to prevent morbidity in the horses.

The test was developed from research carried out over the last twenty years, first by Dr. Lance Perryman at the University of Washington and North Carolina State University and more recently by Dr. Kathy Meek at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. VetGen was selected by the University of Texas in a competitive bid to exclusively commercialize the genetic test.

VetGen began operations in 1995 as a spin-off from the University of Michigan Department of Human Genetics and the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The companies technical team led by Dr. George Brewer composed of nine scientists and professional geneticists have extensive experience and publications in the field.

If you would like to order a genetic test for SCID in Arabian horses contact VetGen at 800/483-8436 or visit them at

About the Author

Tim Brockhoff

Tim Brockhoff was Staff Writer of The Horse:Your Guide to Equine Health Care from 1995 to 1999. His degree is in Agricultural Communications from the University of Kentucky, and his equine experience is with American Saddlebreds.

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