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UC Davis Seeks Appaloosa, Friesian Horses for Clinical Trials

The University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is seeking Appaloosa and Friesian horses for two new clinical trials.

Appaloosa (left) and Friesian Horse.

Pumbazn(left)/ezp/istock/thinkstock

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The University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine recently posted two new clinical trials currently accepting equine patients:  “Genomic investigation of Equine Recurrent Uveitis in Appaloosa horses” and “Chronic Progressive Lymphedema in Friesian Horses.”

The purpose of the first study, according to UC Davis, is to determine the genetic factors contributing to equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) in Appaloosa horses. ERU is the leading cause of blindness in horses, marked by repeated episodes of inflammation of the uveal tract of the eye. Appaloosa horses 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, according to the school.

The clinical trial is seeking Appaloosas with known pedigrees.

The results of this work may help to lower the incidence of this ocular disease in Appaloosas and other affected breeds, help breeders to make informed mating decisions and be used by veterinarians to predict risk of developing disease for earlier diagnosis and treatment, according to UC Davis.

The purpose of the second study is to identify the region of the horse genome associated with Chronic Progressive Lymphedema (CPL), a disorder affecting the lymphatic system in the lower limbs of many draft horse breeds, including Friesians. Clinical presentation begins with minor lymphedema and skin thickening that frequently goes unnoticed in many animals, especially those with heavy feathering around the legs, according to UC Davis. As the disease progresses, skin folds, nodules and skin oozing can be observed, subsequently creating the perfect environment for secondary infections to develop, the school further noted. The combination of these factors often leads to lameness.

The researchers are also interested in looking for physical characteristics and individual management strategies that may be associated with the potential for CPL development.

Participation requirements include Friesian horses with and without CPL. Horses without CPL must be a minimum of 10 years old.

Results from this study, according to the school, will improve understanding of CPL in draft horses and could lead to improved management strategies that mitigate disease and slow progression. The study may also lead to the development of a DNA based test that will allow breeders to make informed breeding decisions, the school further noted.

For details on each clinical trial, visit the website here.

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