Genetic test created for equine cerebellar abiotrophy

Oct 08, 2008
By staff
Davis, Calif. -- A new genetic screening test was created for equine cerebellar abiotrophy at the University of California-Davis' Veterinary Genetics Laboratory.

Cecilia Penedo, PhD, a geneticist at the school, developed the test for the neurological condition found almost exclusively in Arabian horses.

The disease is transmitted when two carrier horses are bred, the university reports. A foal has a 25 percent chance of receiving the genes that cause the disease, which manifests shortly after birth.

The disease causes the death of neurons in the cerebellum of affected foals. Affected horses may have mild to severe tremors of the head and are prone to falls.

Several breeders have assisted in identifying Arabian equine families affected by the genetic condition, and financial support came from the Arabian Horse Foundation and other sources.