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WFFS found not to be a factor in TB Breakdowns

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  • WFFS found not to be a factor in TB Breakdowns

    A UC Davis study has found that WFFS is not associated with catastrophic breakdowns in TBs.

    I didn't know if they would be able to gain access to the horses who had undergone traumatic breakdowns on the track, so to know that this was something they looked at is reassuring to me. While the sample sizes is smaller than I would have anticipated (to only look at 700 horses?), I am pleasantly surprised that they were able to include 22 horses classified as having undergone "catastrophic breakdowns".

    Here is a link to the abstract, although I don't have access to the full journal. I would be interested to see the methodology of the research and what factors they accounted for in selecting their sample population.

    At the very least, I think this is a good foot in the door for more credible research on this condition.

    (Anyone have complete access to the journal & have any more insights to share from it? I may buy temporary access this weekend, my curiousity is rich on this topic.)

  • #2
    Why would you neglect to define WFFS in your thread title or description? This sounds like it might be an interesting topic but the acronym use is so annoying I don't even want to read it.

    "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by PeteyPie View Post
      Why would you neglect to define WFFS in your thread title or description? This sounds like it might be an interesting topic but the acronym use is so annoying I don't even want to read it.
      Sorry. I - apparently erroneously - presumed that people had caught onto it much like "HYPP" or "EPSM", especially considering the several very thorough discussions that have happened in the breeding forum in the last year or so.

      So, for those who missed it the first few rounds of discussion:

      "WFFS" stands for "Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome" (which is somewhat misleading as it has been found in other breeds since it first "went viral" so to speak).

      It is a recessive genetic mutation. The current understanding (substantiated by this study) indicates that it is a recessive condition and that one copy of the gene has no impact on a horse. Inheriting two copies (one from each parent) is lethal. Essentially, the skin/connective tissues are too fragile (lesions on the skin, hyperextendability). Statistically (based on the prevalence of "carriers" - horses with just one copy of the mutation) more foals should have been born that have two copies than have been reported/found so numerically it's presumed that these pregnancies are lost, though more study is required for this to be anything other than a purely mathematical explanation.

      The mutation itself isn't a new one and is present in warmblood/sport horse populations (any of the warmblood registries, including Trakehner) and has also been found in Thoroughbreds. A test to identify carriers was created several years ago though it didn't make waves until the 2018 breeding year where a foal was born with two copies of the mutation & the breeder subsequently incited a discussion and awareness of the issue that ended up going international.

      WFFS, Cliffsnotes edition.

      (And if people want a more scientific synopsis, the first link in my above post gives a pretty decent one, in fewer words.)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by PeteyPie View Post
        Why would you neglect to define WFFS in your thread title or description? This sounds like it might be an interesting topic but the acronym use is so annoying I don't even want to read it.
        It's an extremely common acronym, with the attention it's been getting. If you're ignorant, that's not the OP's fault.

        OP stands for Original Poster, in case you didn't know.

        Comment


        • #5
          Edre Thank you for the interesting read.
          I am glad they are looking into stuff like this.

          PeteyPie I admit I am one of those people that find the endless acronyms used on this forum to be annoying because half the time I am not sure what someone is saying. This one, like all the disease related acronyms, does not bother me one bit. WFFS has been talked about a ton. If you type WFFS into google the autofills are all horse related things so it is an easy thing to learn about if you do not know about it.

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          • #6
            Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.
            http://www.windsweptfarmllc.com

            Comment


            • #7
              If you end up buying, let me know..

              I'm not really surprised by the findings, but I also would like to know more about how they were able to substantiate that one copy was not in any way detrimental.

              It never really occurred to me that WFFS would be responsible in any way for catastrophic breakdowns in TBs.. it's really not common in TBs whatsoever.

              Time will tell; I'm glad the disease is finally getting the clinical attention it needs.

              Still waiting, however, on some sort of credible, substantiated source that proves it came from TBs and is all the TB's fault . . .

              Not that it really matters where it originated from; what matters more now is understanding how it impacts the carrier horse[s], and how to control its prevalence in a rather small gene pool.
              AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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              • #8
                Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post

                It's an extremely common acronym, with the attention it's been getting. If you're ignorant, that's not the OP's fault.

                OP stands for Original Poster, in case you didn't know.
                well I agree with the post, I was hoping for at least the full definition written out once, and I know about fragile foal syndrome, never seen it called WFFS, just FFs, and I also wouldn't associate it with TBs, so maybe give the poster a bit of a break?
                Boss Mare Eventing Blog

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                • #9
                  I am also often guilty as charged using/overusing acronyms. However, for something like WFFS which is still fairly new, the common (at least used to be) convention was use the acronym and also, the first time it is used, use the words that the acronym represents.

                  I still occasionally stumble over what appears to me to be an acronym that I have no idea what it means. I get the comment that having to research may often put me off continuing to read.

                  Maybe yes the reader's "fault" that they should go research but maybe also the writer's "fault" for not making the topic easy enough to read to draw the reader in and perhaps encourage more research... just a thought.
                  Maybe the reason I love animals so much is because the only time they have broken my heart is when they've crossed that rainbow bridge

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Edre View Post
                    A UC Davis study has found that WFFS is not associated with catastrophic breakdowns in TBs.

                    I didn't know if they would be able to gain access to the horses who had undergone traumatic breakdowns on the track, so to know that this was something they looked at is reassuring to me.
                    I think most state racing commissions have a system that requires all horses suffering catastrophic breakdowns or other fatality during racing/training undergo a complete necropsy and samples /specimens are submitted to specialist laboratories for more detailed analysis. Presumably many of them would even have stored samples from previous cases to allow retrospective analysis. Back in the day all CA breakdowns went to Dr. Stover's lab at UCDavis, I don't know if she's still the head of that initiative.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post

                      It's an extremely common acronym, with the attention it's been getting. If you're ignorant, that's not the OP's fault.

                      OP stands for Original Poster, in case you didn't know.
                      I'll rise to the bait.

                      We can all use Google, but it is the convention, and a courtesy, to define an acronym on its first use, and I have certainly made the same mistake of not following that convention but that doesn't make it right or correct. Also, it is not considerate for the many readers who are ignorant of the acronym or of the condition. Part of the reason we discuss these issues is to broaden knowledge among horse owners and I really don't think name-calling advances anything, since most of us find ourselves learning new things constantly on this forum. Congratulations, endlessclimb, that you are well versed in this topic. Perhaps you are so well educated in all things horse that there is no acronym which can flummox you. The rest of us need help.

                      As for my ignorance, guilty! I've certainly heard of Fragile Foal Syndrome, although volumes are written about what I don't know on that subject, but the acronym, WFFS, did not ring a bell. I'm sure the posted link would have explained it but like many, I have been burned enough by clicking on links which are not described that I just avoid it now.

                      Edre was kind enough, and very gracious I might add, to correct the omission, so I don't think your added sarcasm was helpful.

                      "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Edre thank you for the explanation and links. It is super interesting.
                        "Random capitAlization really Makes my day." -- AndNirina

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have full access due to being at an academic institution.
                          I think it's kosher to share articles as long as you all promise to cite them appropriately in any of the papers you publish in the future
                          Does this attachment work?
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Summary of methods though, and to answer Edre's specific questions "I would be interested to see the methodology of the research and what factors they accounted for in selecting their sample population."

                            Sample population is the 22 breakdowns this season (12/18-03/19) at (I am assuming, I didn't read closely enough if that was specified) Santa Anita. They obtained hair and/or kidney tissue from the horses and then extracted their DNA from that.
                            Genome sequencing was by PCR; and they confirmed that all the horse's samples were from the correct horse by comparing to previously performed genetic testing by the Jockey Club (on each of the horses).

                            PCR is Polymerase Chain Reaction and essentially it makes many copies of a specific length of DNA - it's used to amplify the DNA of interest and make it easier to analyze, because it is allows the sequences of interest to be available in high concentrations.

                            They also had control groups of the following:
                            n=138, horses at the same track that had no record of injury in the season the 22 catastrophic breakdown horses had their accidents
                            n=185 horses of 7+yrs old that raced in the same season at any US racetrack with no record of injury;
                            n=92 horses between ages of 5-9 that had never started in a race
                            n=279 random sampling of thoroughbreds regardless of age or racing history.
                            All but 9 of these horses also had their genetic identity confirmed by matching previous genetic profiles as the 22 catastrophic breakdown horses were
                            Last edited by MissCoco; Sep. 25, 2019, 04:20 PM. Reason: Added explanation of an acronym I realized people might be unfamiliar with

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by PeteyPie View Post

                              I'll rise to the bait.

                              We can all use Google, but it is the convention, and a courtesy, to define an acronym on its first use, and I have certainly made the same mistake of not following that convention but that doesn't make it right or correct. Also, it is not considerate for the many readers who are ignorant of the acronym or of the condition. Part of the reason we discuss these issues is to broaden knowledge among horse owners and I really don't think name-calling advances anything, since most of us find ourselves learning new things constantly on this forum. Congratulations, endlessclimb, that you are well versed in this topic. Perhaps you are so well educated in all things horse that there is no acronym which can flummox you. The rest of us need help.

                              As for my ignorance, guilty! I've certainly heard of Fragile Foal Syndrome, although volumes are written about what I don't know on that subject, but the acronym, WFFS, did not ring a bell. I'm sure the posted link would have explained it but like many, I have been burned enough by clicking on links which are not described that I just avoid it now.

                              Edre was kind enough, and very gracious I might add, to correct the omission, so I don't think your added sarcasm was helpful.
                              Neither was your toddler foot stomping about how annoying it might be to google it.

                              How about "Can you define WFFS? I've never heard of that before."

                              At any rate...

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by MissCoco View Post
                                I have full access due to being at an academic institution.
                                I think it's kosher to share articles as long as you all promise to cite them appropriately in any of the papers you publish in the future
                                Does this attachment work?
                                Yes it does!! Thank you very much! Can’t wait to read it this evening, I appreciate your sharing! The details you shared RE: methodology are very interesting. I had wondered about sampling and it sounds like the control groups were fairly broad, which I had not even considered. Awesome share.

                                Toblersmom that is super interesting to learn. Thank you for explaining. It’s nice that there are such policies in place although the context around it is obviously very upsetting. That they looked at this as a component to research makes me glad, that way the research is out there and we can stop having to wonder about it.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The takeaway is it had no factor in the SA breakdowns but more importantly to those of us on this particular forum is despite the warmblood in the acronym, 17 of 716 TBs tested were found to be carriers. That is obviously a very small percentage but it is considerably larger than the zero you would expect in a non warmblood, closed studbook. So you must test your TB mares as well as your WB mares before breeding to any WFFS carrier and never breed to any stallion whose connections refuse to test or release the results.
                                  McDowell Racing Stables

                                  Home Away From Home

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                                    The takeaway is it had no factor in the SA breakdowns but more importantly to those of us on this particular forum is despite the warmblood in the acronym, 17 of 716 TBs tested were found to be carriers. That is obviously a very small percentage but it is considerably larger than the zero you would expect in a non warmblood, closed studbook. So you must test your TB mares as well as your WB mares before breeding to any WFFS carrier and never breed to any stallion whose connections refuse to test or release the results.
                                    Correct me if I'm wrong, but my kitchen table math is saying that the percentage of TBs in this study who are carriers is smaller than what the estimated percentage was a few years ago. I don't know what a representative sample for the TB would look like, but has anyone been doing work to see if that original estimate would need to be revised up or down?

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Standard Bread View Post

                                      Correct me if I'm wrong, but my kitchen table math is saying that the percentage of TBs in this study who are carriers is smaller than what the estimated percentage was a few years ago. I don't know what a representative sample for the TB would look like, but has anyone been doing work to see if that original estimate would need to be revised up or down?
                                      Was there ever an original estimate of TB carriers? If you can find that (or source it) would you mind sharing? I would be interested to see the historical progression of the estimations.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Edre View Post

                                        Was there ever an original estimate of TB carriers? If you can find that (or source it) would you mind sharing? I would be interested to see the historical progression of the estimations.
                                        UC Davis tested a relatively small number of samples they had access to. I can't remember either the sample pool size or the percentage of positives but I don't believe it was statistically significant or that it was ever intended to be a comprehensive scientific study, just very preliminary research. I believe it was mentioned in one of the articles in the original WFFS thread posted.

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