Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tying-Up in Thoroughbreds: Narrowing the Genetic Search

Thehorse.com - Full Article

by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
December 24 2010, Article # 17439

Researchers suspect tying-up in horses is a heritable condition; however, they have yet to determine the gene--or genes--responsible. But a team of Japanese researchers recently moved the investigation forward with a groundbreaking study of affected Thoroughbred racehorses' DNA.

Muscle disorders such as polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM, recognized mainly in Quarter Horses) and recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis (RER, found primarily in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses) can lead to tying-up. A horse that's tying-up typically displays stiffness, sweating, muscle tremors, and a reluctance to move, among other clinical signs.

"Tying-up in racehorses is important because it affects approximately 5% of Thoroughbred racehorses," explained Teruaki Tozaki, PhD, from the Department of Molecular Genetics, Laboratory of Racing Chemistry, Tochigi, Japan, author of the recent study. "Although the condition is influenced by sex (of the affected horse), temperament, and diet, the current body of evidence suggests that tying-up is a heritable trait that is affected by one or several genetic factors..."

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