Researchers at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), School of Veterinary Medicine are seeking Appaloosa horses for participation in a clinical trial on equine recurrent uveitis (ERU).

Equine recurrent uveitis is an ocular condition that occurs when there is recurrent inflammation along the uveal tract in the eye and is a leading cause of blindness in horses.

“Appaloosa horses, known best for their white coat spotting patterns (termed leopard complex or LP), are eight times more likely than any other breed to develop this disease and four times more likely to go blind, suggesting genetics plays a major contributing role,” a clinical trial description from UC Davis read. “However, little is known about the specific genetic factors involved. The objective of this study is to determine the genetic factors contributing to ERU in Appaloosa horses.”

The primary researchers—Rebecca Bellone, PhD, and Mary Lassaline, DVM, PhD, MA, DACVO—are seeking Appaloosas with known pedigrees to include in their research.

Study participation will include examination of the horse’s eyes by a veterinary ophthalmologist, photography of the horse to document coat color and any abnormalities found in the eyes, hair sample collection for DNA analysis, a discussion of the horse’s medical history, and follow-up phone calls/emails if any questions arise.

“Results of this work may help to lower the incidence of this ocular disease in Appaloosas and other affected breeds,” the team said. “Information gained may help breeders to make informed mating decisions, and utilized by veterinarians