April 2004 Issue Of The Horse Reports Origin Of Mysterious
Disease Found In Quarter Horses Is Discovered
KY - The April 2004 issue of The Horse magazine, the leading monthly
equine health care magazine, will reveal in an exclusive news report
that Poco Bueno, a champion Quarter Horse, has been identified as
the sire line associated with the brutal affliction known as hyperelastosis
cutis (HC) or hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia (HERDA).
The news report also appeared on the magazine's web site: www.TheHorse.com
on Friday, February 27, citing research by Dr. Ann Rashmir, associate
professor of surgery and head of the Hyperelastosis Cutis Research
Program at Mississippi State University, and Dr. Nena Winand, a
geneticist and assistant professor in the Department of Molecular
Medicine at Cornell University.
cutis (HC) basically carries with it a death sentence for Quarter
Horses affected by the disease. Currently there is no cure for HC.
a horse has HC, there is a lack of adhesion within the dermis, the
deep layer of skin, due to a collagen defect. Think of it like glue
holding the skin layers together, only with HC, the glue is inferior.
Because the layers are not held firmly together, they separate.
When the horse is ridden under saddle or suffers trauma to the skin,
the outer layer often splits or separates from the deeper layer,
or it can tear off completely. It rarely heals without disfiguring
scars. New damaged areas arise continuously, sometimes even without
are cases where horses with HC have lived to a fairly old age, says
Dr. Rashmir, but great care must be taken to prevent trauma that
can rip the skin. Sunburn can also be a concern. In dramatic cases,
says Dr. Rashmir, the skin can split along the back and even roll
down the sides, with the horse literally being skinned alive. Generally
speaking, she says, the average lifespan for an HC horse is two
to four years.
disease first surfaced in 1971. Today as more and more breedings
double up on the Poco Bueno line through the mating of close-up
and distant cousins, more and more cases of HC are showing up.
of the popularity of sires that are (or were) carriers and the use
of assisted reproductive technologies (i.e., shipped semen), it
is likely that the HC gene is present in thousands of horses,"
says Dr. Winand.
American Quarter Horse Association is concerned about HC, says Gary
Griffith, executive director of registration for AQHA. Griffith
says the announcement by Rashmir and Winand, to his knowledge, is
the first public revelation concerning the Poco Bueno bloodline
being the primary reservoir for the HC gene.
also says that AQHA is funding research at the University of California,
Davis, (which is also working with Rashmir). That group is attempting
to identify the gene responsible for HC. Hopefully, such research,
Griffith says, will provide a simple genetic test that will identify
HC carriers. "All of the information stemming from research
into this problem will be passed on to the appropriate (AQHA) committees
for consideration and action," he notes.
check of the 2004 Quarter Horse News Stallion Register, Dr. Rashmir
says, reveals that out of the top 100 cutting horse stallions, lifetime,
based on earnings of offspring, 14 are known HC carriers.
Winand says that another study, based on statistics published in
the 2004 Quarter Horse News Stallion Register, reveals that between
1998 and 2002, some 1,241 offspring of HC carrier stallions were
sold at public auction for $26,749,650. One-half of those offspring,
based on genetic law of averages, she says, also are carriers.
of these horses have been, and are, wonderful athletes and, though
they are carriers, have no outward signs of the disease," says
Dr. Rashmir. "Breeders are going to have to take responsibility
for their decisions and not breed known carrier to known carrier."
read the entire article, visit: www.TheHorse.com/qf.asp?fid=5037
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