Six-panel genetic testing for horses is a diagnostic tool used by horse owners, breeders, and veterinarians to assess the genetic predisposition of a horse to specific hereditary diseases or traits. This type of testing provides valuable information about a horse’s genetic makeup, allowing for informed breeding decisions and proactive management of potential health concerns. Here’s an explanation of what a six-panel genetic test typically includes:
- Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia (HERDA): HERDA is a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue in a horse’s skin. Horses with HERDA often have fragile skin that tears easily, leading to chronic wounds and skin issues. Genetic testing can identify whether a horse carries the HERDA mutation.
- Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP): HYPP is a genetic disorder in some horse breeds, particularly in descendants of the Quarter Horse stallion Impressive. Horses with HYPP can experience muscle tremors, paralysis, and even sudden death due to potassium imbalances. Genetic testing helps determine if a horse carries the HYPP gene.
- Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy Type 1 (PSSM1): PSSM1 is a muscle disorder that can cause exercise intolerance and muscle pain in affected horses. This condition is associated with the accumulation of abnormal glycogen in muscle tissue. Genetic testing identifies whether a horse carries the PSSM1 gene mutation.
- Malignant Hyperthermia (MH): Malignant hyperthermia is a rare condition where a horse’s body temperature rises dangerously high after exposure to certain anesthetics. It can be life-threatening. Genetic testing helps determine if a horse is susceptible to MH.
- Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency (GBED): GBED is a genetic disorder that affects the metabolism of glycogen in a horse’s body. Horses with GBED often do not thrive and may have severe health issues. Genetic testing can identify whether a horse carries the GBED gene mutation.
- Equine Hereditary Cataracts (HC): Equine cataracts are a hereditary condition that can cause visual impairment or blindness in affected horses. Genetic testing helps identify whether a horse carries the HC gene mutation.
The primary goal of six-panel genetic testing is to identify if a horse carries any of these genetic mutations, as this information can inform breeding decisions and help prevent the transmission of these hereditary conditions to future generations. Responsible breeders often use genetic testing to select mating pairs, reducing the risk of producing offspring with these disorders.
Keep in mind that the specific genetic tests available and the diseases they cover may vary depending on the laboratory or service providing the testing. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian or genetic testing provider for the most up-to-date information on available tests and their applications in horse breeding and management.