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Testing For Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome

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Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome WFFS is an inherited autosomal disorder caused by a single mutation in lysyl hydroxylase 1 (LHl) gene. Mutations in LHl are known to cause a similar disorder in humans known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome VI (EDSVI).

WFFS has been identified in a population of horses known as Warmbloods. Primarily originating in Europe during the Middle Ages, Warmblood horses were the result of breeding large cold blood draft horses of northern Europe with hot blooded, lighter and faster Arabian horses that warriors captured in the Middle East and Africa and brought back with them after their battles. As a result, Warmbloods are a group of mid-sized horse types often called Sport Horses and developed with the aim of competing in Olympic equestrian sports.

Similar to HERDA, a disease affecting Quarter Horses, an affected WFFS foal is born with two copies of the mutated gene, one coming from each parent. The affected foal will display extreme skin fragility characterized by tearing, ulceration, etc. from contact with normal surroundings. Small skin lesions can occur anywhere on the body, but are most noted on pressure points. In addition to skin wounds, lesions may also be found on the gums and other oral cavity mucous membranes. As well, the limb joints are lax and hyperextensible. Fetlocks are the most dramatically affected generally preventing a foal from standing normally. Unfortunately, there is no cure and all affected foals must be euthanized soon after birth.

The frequency of the mutant LHl gene in Warmbloods appears to be approximately 7.80%.

There is no cure for WFFS. As the condition worsens, the foal will begin to develop severe infections as well as suffer from increasing pain and discomfort. Foals often die from these infections or are euthanized within 3-8 days from birth for humane reasons.

WFFS is an autosomal recessive trait, meaning a foal can only be affected if the foal inherits the disease from both parents. Parents that are carriers do not have any symptoms associated with WFFS. However, they will pass on a copy of the defective gene to their offspring 50% of the time. If breeding two carriers the foal has a 25% chance of being affected and a 50% chance of being a carrier. Carriers should always be breed to clear non-carriers to prevent ANY chance of having an affected foal.

To arrange your test - contact: Animal Genetics
www.animalgenetics.eu

Added on: 02 May 2018

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