Genetic Testing Options for Horses

Two leading genetics researchers described current and upcoming tests for a variety of heritable equine conditions.

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Genetic Testing Options for Horses
Warmblood fragile foal syndrome (WFFS) is a recessive condition that results in skin splitting and evisceration in newborn foals. Scientists have found a high (~20%) carrier frequency in some Warmbloods, said Finno. | Photo: iStock

Genetic testing is a continually evolving field in equine medicine. As such, veterinarians and researchers discussed the topic during the 2019 Annual American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 7-11 in Denver.

Two leading researchers in this field—Carrie Finno, DVM, PhD, Dipl, ACVIM, associate professor and director at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine’s Center for Equine Health; and Molly McCue, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, professor and associate dean of research at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine—moderated a conversation about a variety of available (as well as not yet available) tests. They included:

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) Belgians and Haflingers both have a genetic link to SCC susceptibility that’s tied to ultraviolet light exposure, said Finno

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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