Research into the disease known as hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia (HERDA; also known as hyperelastosis cutis, HC) is also proceeding at the University of California, Davis. The research is headed by Stephen White, DVM, Dipl. ACVD (dermatology) and has a four-part focus.



A typical sore from hyperelastosis cutis, or hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia.

The first part collected information and skin samples from more than 50 horses which were examined at veterinary schools including UC Davis and Colorado State University, and by private practitioners. "We looked at clinical signs and histopathology of the skin to see if there were distinguishing factors to help diagnose these cases," says White. That phase has been completed and a paper on the results has been accepted for publication by a scientific journal, he says.

"We looked at different staining techniques to see if we could find out if some of the collagen and elastin fibers were abnormal," he says. "But our pathologists, looking blindly at biopsies of 46 of these horses and 10 normal horses, were not able to see any difference between groups using the staining techniques."

"We mainly diagnose this disease by seeing clinical signs–lesions over the back and someti