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Can we talk about HYPP?

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  • Can we talk about HYPP?

    I wasn't sure which board to post this on, but I think my question is more political than horse care, so I'm putting this out here. This is going to be a long post.

    A few weeks ago, I'm not even sure how, I wound up surfing and reading a little bit about HYPP- and read some testimonies from people who had some experience with it and watched some youtubes. I had never realised how serious a condition it can be and what I saw online alarmed me.

    Then last week something terrible happened. It may be a case of "seeing what you want to see" (you know the online hypocondriac) because HYPP was so fresh on my mind... maybe not. I'll tell the story now with the disclaimer that I do not KNOW that what I saw was a HYPP attack, the horse was not mine and I am not aware of the outcome, but I believe the horse has been euthanised... so it's not as if armchair quarterbacking now is going to cause any harm or delay in treatment. I just want to talk about this.

    I was out with my husband and we were driving on a highway by a very large pasture with a lake where two beautiful young horses have recently "appeared". The pasture is not connected to a home. One of the horses was laying down and I saw the other horse kind of bite and stomp at it. The other horse rose to a sitting position and I expected him to jump up and and run bucking away after being rudely awoken by his pasturemate. I didn't see that happen before the horses were out of my sight. "Something might be wrong- Honey will you turn around?, I want to see if that horse got up." So my husband got us turned around and as we came back I could still see the horse sitting there (like a dog) with the other horse pestering him.

    The gate was locked, so I jumped the fence and ran up the long lane... actually hoping that the horse might be tangled up in something- and not with a broken leg. His neck was covered with bite marks from the other horse- but other than that he seemed outwardly uninjured. I fashioned a baling twine halter and got the other horse away- and only then did the sitting horse relax again and lay down again.

    There was a flurry of trying to figure out who was the horse owner and how to contact them... I was eventually able to track him down and he was over an hour away.

    My husband and I stayed with the horse while we waited for the owner to arrive. In that time the horse did try to rise a few times but he could not gather his hind legs under him. He did not seem to be in pain and every time when he would sit up and collapse into a new patch of clover- he actually continued to nibble clover with the side of his mouth as if he'd just been turned out. The ground where I found him was not severly disturbed and there was no manure there- although at one point when he sat up- he did make the first small poop. I got him a bucket of water and he drank eagerly. His eyes were bright and alert. When he laid out flat on his side- his upside front leg stayed stuck out and straight so the hoof did not rest on the ground. His shoulder was trembling as well as the muscles on the underside of his ribs (girth area) I did not see any of the "skin crawling" knots that I had seen in some of the HYPP youtubes.

    When I was first speaking to the owner on the phone, I asked him if he was a fancy bred QH- if HYPP was a possibility- and the owner said that he was was not an Impressive bred horse- but that he did not have the horse's papers. He mentioned that the other horse was decended from Impressive, but was not a carrier of HYPP. Both colts are 3.

    So, regardless if what I saw was HYPP... maybe it was some sort of toxic plant- or a broken back or pelvis... I really don't know. But a lot of the pieces of the puzzle do seem to point to HYPP and the fact that this really beautiful purebred QH didn't have papers REALLY raises my hackles.

    I don't understand how the AQHA can allow horses carrying this DOMINANT gene to still be breeding- and that they only refuse to register H/H horses- but that H/N horses can continue to breed. It's such a head in the sand policy- as if refusing to PAPER the horse- they are just going to make the problem vanish... the HORSE is still out there- it doesn't just go POOF just because the AQHA won't put their brand name on it. I feel like the whole mixed/cross breed horse population (of the future) is at risk because the AQHA did not take action as soon as this was discovered.

    I am NOT a person who puts stock in "papers"... but now I think that if I ever do consider buying an unpapered horse- that I will think about getting HYPP testing done before making a commitment. It's like if you are an AQHA devotee- papers and showing etc- that's your story and you aren't going to be hurt by the purebred beauties who are going out into the general horse population without papers or an explanation WHY they are such a good deal. It's the innocent first timers (or the experienced horseman like this owner who is into using a stock horse- and doesn't need papers for their purposes) who are going to get burned. This has changed my whole view when I see things- like a pretty QH mare on the Camelot Horse Weekly- I think OMG watch out- you don't know what you might be getting into! And to think of backyard breeders getting their hands on the defective genes - it could spread so deeply into the grade horse world.

    Anyway- even if you aren't into QH's... and it seems that this is not a problem of the horse world at large (how I was)- I think that we need to rethink that and figure out what needs to be done.

  • #2
    You're right about all the HYPP stuff, but its been discussed ad-nauseum for years. still there are breeders who continue to breed with the HYPP gene. Maybe you'll find people interested in dredging up HYPP again on here, but more likely folks here would be much more interested in what happened to the downed horse. It does sound neurological - either mechanical (accident/injury) or idiopathic (in-born problem). Too bad about the little (young) guy. Let us know if you ever find out what happened with him.
    My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Plainandtall View Post
      I feel like the whole mixed/cross breed horse population (of the future) is at risk because the AQHA did not take action as soon as this was discovered.
      It's been over 30 years since Impressive hit the Leading Sires List. Those have not been 30 years of limited, strictly controlled breeding in the USA.

      I think the problem is already as bad as it gets. There is no indication it's going to suddenly get worse in the future.

      A search will bring up plenty of old threads on COTH that run the HYPP issue into the ground.

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      • #4
        You're preaching to the choir in regards to how awful it is that this condition is still around.

        The short answer is money. Money for fancy horses, money for show horses, breeding programs, money.

        I learned the hard way to spend the $30 on a simple test (using hair bulbs) to UC Davis. I also would test for any known genetic condition pertinent to the breed (like herda for example, another horrid condition)

        That being said, there really is no way to ever know what you saw in that horse. It may have been HYPP, it may have been trauma, it may have been seizure activity, it may have been toxins, well you get the picture.

        I have an HYPP horse, he's H/N. It was not disclosed to me when I got him. He was for sale, then suddenly they offered him to me for free. I should have known then....but ignorance is bliss.

        His papers didn't indicate anything. He's not a "typical" presenter, in as much as he starts out with horrible hives and that apparently triggers an attack. I don't know what he is allergic to. It really threw everyone off, two different vets, me, we all never thought HYPP because of the hives. We thought he was having anaphylactic shock.

        It came on sporadically when he was ten or so, and then we had a bad episode 4 years ago. I finally tested him, found the answer to his condition, changed his diet and put him on medication. Today, he is stable, safe, and happy. If he should start having any severe attacks again, while medicated, I will euthanize him. I won't let him suffocate.

        I almost lost him twice, once that episode I mentioned, and once about a month after he started getting treated.

        What really pisses me off, is years later I bumped into his old owner and told them he had this condition, and the response I got was, "Oh...yeah...yeah he did." So they KNEW about it, yet everything was fine, fine, fine when I took him. Live and learn.

        It's a shame though; he's a fabulous boy.

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        • #5
          I believe the AQHA is planning on ending registration for N/H horses in the near future; however, I am not aware of any plans for the APHA or ApHC to follow suit.

          It makes me sick that people still breed N/H and H/H horses. It's a dominant gene and with a collective effort it would be easy to eradicate, but it doesn't look like that will happen any time soon. What's even worse is that you don't need a HYPP horse to win in halter . My fiance's mother has been showing halter for years and has been against breeding HYPP horses since the 80s and still has had a couple of reserve and world champion horses! It's just sad for all these horses being born with a condition that could and should have been prevented.
          Southern Cross Guest Ranch
          An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia

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          • #6
            biggest problem is Impressive sired about 2,250 foals and estimated to have over 100,000 living descendants

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks for sharing your story Lady C... that's exactly the sort of story that I am concerned about... I'm glad you finally figured it out and that your horse is doing OK (for now) but it's terrible that you have to live with that dark cloud you know? People love their horses!- it's not as if it's just a statistical matter... when you lose a horse it's devastating...they are breeding heartbreaks... and anxiety... and the added expense of medication and managment and veterinary work... and not just the horse- but people could get hurt too.

              Sorry for starting a subject that's been done to death- I'm new here so I didn't know that- and I just wanted to let this story out because I feel people just don't know (because I didn't!) and I also just needed to vent- I'm still really shook up over the ordeal- but it's not like I can really grieve. I'm just kind of in a stuck place emotionally. Before posting I did search for HYPP and got no results- I wonder if I'm doing something wrong with the search feature here.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Plainandtall View Post
                Thanks for sharing your story Lady C... that's exactly the sort of story that I am concerned about... I'm glad you finally figured it out and that your horse is doing OK (for now) but it's terrible that you have to live with that dark cloud you know? People love their horses!- it's not as if it's just a statistical matter... when you lose a horse it's devastating...they are breeding heartbreaks... and anxiety... and the added expense of medication and managment and veterinary work... and not just the horse- but people could get hurt too.

                Sorry for starting a subject that's been done to death- I'm new here so I didn't know that- and I just wanted to let this story out because I feel people just don't know (because I didn't!) and I also just needed to vent- I'm still really shook up over the ordeal- but it's not like I can really grieve. I'm just kind of in a stuck place emotionally. Before posting I did search for HYPP and got no results- I wonder if I'm doing something wrong with the search feature here.
                On the bar above, click on "Search", type in HYPP and several pages come up, one this, explaining some of the HYPP problems:

                http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...highlight=HYPP

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                • #9
                  Whatever happened to the horse could have been a lot of things, not just HYPP, but I agree that it's pretty heinous to keep breeding any H horse. Especially if you plan to cull your breeding quality herd by selling the positives off wthout papers - hello? it still has the condition and all the potential problems plus if it's a mare . . .

                  I am glad that you took the time to see the horse tended to, though, whatever was wrong with it.
                  Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Oh boy, do I feel dumb Bluey- I was trying to search in the green Chronicle search bar way up in the upper right corner, not with the forum bar.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by clanter View Post
                      biggest problem is Impressive sired about 2,250 foals and estimated to have over 100,000 living descendants
                      Wow. I'm not surprised, though.

                      Our Appy is one of the descendants. I had him tested and thank God he is N/N. However, he does have the large body and tiny feet of a halter horse. I really feel that this may shorten his life and it really sucks. I didn't know any of this when I bought him as a 9-month old. Love and learn...

                      (hmmm, interesting typo! I meant "live and learn", of course...)

                      Your description of the horse's symptoms is much like what happened to our TWH who passed away 3 weeks ago. He had hind end weakness that progressed over night to where he couldn't stand. By morning he could barely sit up with help. When he lay down his legs would stick straight out and tremble.

                      We had him tested for EPM, West nile, EHV-1 and rabies and he tested negative for everything. He did have a lump on his spine and one on his girth, so we're thinking it was cancer. He didn't have any kind of trauma, so it wasn't that....it could also have been a brain tumor or aneurism. Or a stroke, I guess.

                      He was some sort of TWH cross...possibly TWH/Hafflinger, because he had the Hafflinger coloring. I didn't even think about HYPP, but I still think it was cancer.

                      Yes, he passed away that morning before the vet could get there... :'(

                      The vet was out the night before and thought it might be rabies. I thought it was sudden-onset EPM, but I guess we were both wrong.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm another one who bought an Appy without knowing she had Impressive WAY back on her pedigree. I was pretty freaked out, I knew almost NOTHING about HYPP because it was a "QH thing". My mare's GGrandsire is N/N but I had to do some research to find out
                        "It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot

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