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(Update #13) HERDA (Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia ): Any experience..?

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  • (Update #13) HERDA (Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia ): Any experience..?

    I just came into possession of a 10 month old APHA colt. He's a little wonky, and definitely not something I would pick out myself, but long story short - I have him.
    Although his conformation isn't stellar, he's cute and well handled, and hopefully he'll be a fun little project.
    At first inspection I though he was just wormy and undernourished, having been fed mostly hay with very little grain/protein. But there's just something "funny" about him & I don't know how to describe it. The crestline along his neck feels a little soft/wiggly and his body feels kind of soft & mushy...
    I did some Google searching for "loose skin" in horses, and eventually came across this genetic disorder, HERDA (Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia). Apparently there are certain old sire lines (QH) that seem to be carriers. Lo and behold, the "offending sire" shows up a few generations back on this colt's sire and dam's side once each.
    Usually the disorder isn't discovered until the horses are around 2 years old when they start being put under saddle - at which time they develop sores and lesions, etc.

    Following is an explanation of HERDA from the Animal Genetics, Inc. website:

    "Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia (HERDA) also known as Hyperelastosis Cutis (HC) is a genetic skin disease predominately found in the American Quarter Horse. Researchers at Mississippi State University and Cornell University believe that the origin of this genetic disorder may be the Poco Bueno's sire line. Symptoms of this disorder is a lack of adhesion within the layers of skin due to a genetic defect in the collagen that holds the skin in place. This defect causes the outer layer of skin to split or separate from the deeper layers sometimes tearing off completely. Areas under saddle seem to be most prone to these lesions often leaving permanent scares, preventing the horse from being ridden. The disorder is recessive, which means that a horse must be homozygous positive or have two copies of the defective gene to suffer from the disease. Consequently both the sire and the dam must possess at least one copy of the mutated gene in order for the offspring to be afflicted. Offspring born with one copy of the defective gene and one non-defective copy are considered a carrier and have a 50% chance of passing the defective gene on."

    The previous owner was not the breeder and he got the colt as a weanling. I doubt he'd have any insight on this, especially since the disorder is not usually diagnosed at such a young age. I'm hoping he just needs to grow into himself (and his skin). And maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I did go ahead & drop a sample of his hair in the mail to have DNA testing done, and I hope to God it comes back negative. In the meantime, have any of you on COTH heard of, or had experience with this disorder? This is all new to me.

    ****UPDATE on post #13****
    Last edited by CharingHounds; Mar. 5, 2013, 09:55 PM. Reason: updated info
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Sorry - if this has been discussed previously. I just saw that there are posts on COTH regarding HERDA and I'm going to read them now!

    Comment


    • #3
      I first heard about this disorder 6 or 7 years ago when SAFE pulled a QH from the CBER lot. He had those terrible lesions and it was diagnosed as HERDA. Read here about Ernie https://www.safehorses.org/?p=1869
      IIRC, the generous person who pulled him from the feedlot is a Coth member from AZ.
      I never forgot Ernie and HERDA!

      I hope your horse does not have HERDA!

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        I read something about a reining horse that had a mild case of it which they were able to manage..? But for the most part, it pretty much sounds like a death sentence. I'd rather find out now than later.

        Comment


        • #5
          APHA colt with a APHA HERDA carrier ancestor? I can bet $20 I know who the carrier is.

          Charing - do you have any other info on his pedigree? I could probably give you some help with HERDA carriers there. Feel free to PM me if you prefer.
          Only two emotions belong in the saddle: One is a sense of humor. The other is patience.

          Comment


          • #6
            Just get him tested and be done with the guessing It would be very unusual for symptoms to be presenting this young - can't say I've ever read about it this early, but I suppose it's not impossible.

            Get a FEC done on him. Neck Threadworms can really screw with ligaments and connective tissue. You won't see them on a FEC, but if he hadn't been dewormed properly and has a high strongyle count, it's very possible he's already got a nasty NTW infestation which will have to be just managed for a while, since you can only kill the juvies, can't kill the adults which can live 10+ years
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by FalseImpression View Post
              I first heard about this disorder 6 or 7 years ago when SAFE pulled a QH from the CBER lot. He had those terrible lesions and it was diagnosed as HERDA. Read here about Ernie https://www.safehorses.org/?p=1869
              IIRC, the generous person who pulled him from the feedlot is a Coth member from AZ.
              I never forgot Ernie and HERDA!

              I hope your horse does not have HERDA!
              Funny that's how I first heard of it as well. I too hope for a different diagnosis for your horse

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                "And maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I did go ahead & drop a sample of his hair in the mail to have DNA testing done, and I hope to God it comes back negative."

                JB, as I wrote, sending out for testing is the first thing I did. That's interesting about the threadworms. I'll check into that too. Thanks.

                jennywho, I could very well be wrong and I've only had him 2 days. Maybe I'm worrying over nothing, just because he's quite a funky looking little fella!?!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well, I'm no expert but there have been several cases of young (foals) horses diagnosed with HERDA. Off breeds too like warmbloods and thoroughbreds. These have been isolated cases really and they're not sure how their genes mutated to show HERDA but still, it's been documented.

                  Sending lots of jingles that it's not HERDA and hope you report back when the testing comes through.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That's interesting - can you point me to those cases?

                    And were the off-breeds actually tested for HERDA, or did they just display the same symptoms?
                    ______________________________
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      HERDA Website

                      Check out my website: www.herdahorse.com for information on this genetic defect.

                      Yes, according to the top research vet, there have been cases of warmbloods that have had the defect but it mostly occurs in QH, Paints and Appaloosas.

                      I own a 6 year old Paint mare out of Zippos Sensation and Investment Quality who is affected with HERDA - I would be happy to answer any questions.

                      Regards,
                      Robin

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Robin Davison View Post
                        Check out my website: www.herdahorse.com for information on this genetic defect.

                        Yes, according to the top research vet, there have been cases of warmbloods that have had the defect but it mostly occurs in QH, Paints and Appaloosas.

                        I own a 6 year old Paint mare out of Zippos Sensation and Investment Quality who is affected with HERDA - I would be happy to answer any questions.

                        Regards,
                        Robin
                        There is no such thing as an HYPP carrier. The gene is dominant. Also, horses without Poco Bueno in their pedigree can have this disease, because the mutation originated farther back (some horses trace to King though his other offspring).

                        ETA: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20361398 Paper indicating that warmbloods with symptoms of HERDA did not carry the gene that causes it in quarter horses. So while you can say the disease has occured in other breeds, it does not have the same cause.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Results are in and it's GOOD NEWS!
                          The colt is negative and clear of all genetic disorders covered in the DNA combination test!
                          I have to commend Animal Genetics, Inc. My sample was picked up as outgoing mail from my mailbox on Friday. On Monday, I got email verification of that the sample had been received and was being processed. Tuesday evening (today) I received the results via email. I had no idea it would be so quick.
                          And needless to say, I'm ecstatic!

                          Result Guide:
                          HYPP
                          n/n
                          Clear: Negative for the HYPP gene mutation.
                          n/H
                          HERDA
                          N/N
                          Clear: Negative for the HERDA gene mutation.

                          GBED
                          N/N
                          Clear: Negative for the GBED gene mutation.
                          PSSM1
                          n/n
                          Clear: Negative for the PSSM Type 1 gene mutation.
                          MH
                          n/n
                          Clear: Negative for the MH gene mutation found in Quarter horses and related breeds.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yay! Great news!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My guy is poco lines which that is where the disease seems to have came from. Luckily my guy is good. He is 8 now and going strong.

                              They say they are usually diagnosed at age of 2 because that's when people start backing. Whne it's noticed is from putting a saddle on and the skin can not hold up to the pressure of the saddle. So really if you saddled up a yearling and lunged him you'd probably know pretty good if he has this or not but the best is to send off for the testing which you have done.
                              Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Whoops you posted with me i guess lol. Great news!
                                Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Wonderful news!!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    That's a relief! Good to hear

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Good! So are you any closer to figuring out why he feels mushy and wonky?
                                      ______________________________
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by JB View Post
                                        Good! So are you any closer to figuring out why he feels mushy and wonky?
                                        Not really. I wish I knew what his parents look like. I'm thinking it may be nutrition.
                                        He's as shaggy as a collie. He has a huge hay belly. The cheeks of his butt (really his croup) are round & fleshy - by that I mean that he has a crease down the middle of his rump, as a well-muscled (or fat) horse would have. However, there's no meat along his backbone, his neck is thin, and he has no muscle tone. Though he looks "poor" he doesn't feel bony & sharp, just soft... He's just over 10 months old, measures at about 12.2 hh, and tapes at around 538 lbs.
                                        His front end looks like it belongs to a different horse than his back end. he's probably going through a really awkward stage, or he might just have poor conformation which is making him look so funny to me (although I'm starting to get used to it). His neck-set is - well, let's just say hard to describe (lol).
                                        I'll see if I can rustle up a picture...

                                        Comment

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