HERDA test now available

4 04 2007

A DNA test for the autosomal recessive connective tissue disorder HERDA has been developed by genetics researchers at Cornell University and is now available to the public.

According to CU geneticist Nena Winand, D.V.M., Ph.D., the test unambiguously identifies normal, carrier and affected horses. Affected foals can be definitively identified at birth. “I want this to be used as a tool for breeders,” Winand said. “This test will enable us to manage this disease by testing for it and breeding intelligently.”

HERDA (hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia) is a disease caused by a homozygous recessive gene. When expressed, it causes a collagen defect in the skin of affected horses resulting in a lack of adhesion in the deep layers of skin. Trauma to the skin results in skin wounds that don’t heal. Most affected horses have a poor quality of life and are typically euthanized.

“As with tests for other genetic disorders, we hope being able to genetically test for HERDA will aid in the humane management of affected horses, and reduce the financial loss for breeders,” Winand said.The test can be used with hair or blood samples.

Testing inquiries can be made to:

Nena Winand, D.V.M., Ph.D
Department of Molecular Medicine
C4-140 VMC
College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401
Phone: (607) 253-3608
E-mail at: njw2@cornell.edu


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Bridlepath will be hosting the next Horse Lovers Blog Carnival

4 04 2007

Five Horses ( standing ), originally uploaded by eyecaramba.

The next Blog Carnival will be hosted here on April 25th; that means I’ll need your submissions by April 24th, 10 p.m. EDT. I was thinking it might be fun to do a “five things” theme; what say you? Of course, submissions are welcome for any equine-related topic, and it needn’t just be horses! Donkeys, mules etc. are great too. Submit up to two posts here.

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A new honour for Secretariat

4 04 2007

This picture still makes me cry

The Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame has its first four-legged inductee: the champion racehorse Secretariat.

Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner, takes his place among nine inductees for 2007.

“Big Red”, as the thoroughbred was known, still holds the record time in the Kentucky Derby of 1min 59.4 seconds.

Considered by many to be the greatest thoroughbred in the modern era of racing, Secretariat raced brilliantly to secure the first Triple Crown win in 25 years.

He stood at stud at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky, from 1974 through 1989. He succumbed to laminitis that year.

He sired a substantial number of major stakes winners, including 1986 Horse of the Year, Lady’s Secret, 1988 Preakness and Belmont winner, Risen Star, and 1990 Melbourne Cup winner, Kingston Rule.

Secretariat won the Horse of the Year title in both 1972 and 1973, and even graced the front cover of Newsweek and Time magazines. Link

Related posts:

June 9, 1973

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Britain’s oldest pit pony has died

4 04 2007

SparkyLast fall I told you about how Sparky’s companion Carl had died; now Sparky himself has gone, at the ripe old age of 36:

Sparky has lived at The National Coal Mining Museum for England for the past 18 years. He previously worked down the mines at Ellington Colliery for 13 years before retiring in 1988. He died on 29 March following a short illness.

“Sparky was a wonderful pony; he wasn’t particularly patient and had a special kick for his stall door when it was time to go back to the field,” said a spokesperson for the National Coal Mining Museum for England. “His loss will be felt by museum staff, visitors and those who adopted him.”

There are only a small number of pit ponies surviving in Britain. The peak of employment for horses underground was in 1913, when 70,000 were working. Most pit ponies were stabled underground, only coming to the surface for the annual holiday or during long strikes or lockouts.

For more information about mining ponies or to make a donation to the Museum’s pit pony appeal in Spark’s memory, contact (tel: 01924 848806). Link

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