Recently there has been a lot of focus by Breeders and some Studbooks in the Northern Hemisphere concerning a genetic disorder known as Fragile Foal Syndrome (FFS) due to the confirmed death of a warmblood foal in the US and in Denmark, and the growing commercial availability to test for this condition.
The AWHA Ltd would like to make its members aware of this condition, encourage all breeders to test for this condition, and advise our members of proposed changes to the AWHA Ltd Breeding Guidelines to be tabled at our next Federal Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Fragile Foal Syndrome (FFS) is an inherited genetic disorder which can be found in Warmbloods and less frequently in other sport horse breeds, and a low carrier frequency of the FFS mutation has been identified in Thoroughbred and Knabstrupper horses. A horse can either be clear of this genetic disorder (N/N), a carrier (N/FFS), or affected (FFS/FFS).
No evidence has been presented which proves that a carrier's athletic or breeding performance is negatively impacted by this condition. In fact, there are many successful carriers competing in various disciplines at an International level as well as many successful Internationally recognised breeding horses. Thus it is the AWHA Ltd position that the commercial value of carrier horses should not be adversely impacted by this genetic disorder, nor should their status within the AWHA Ltd Studbook be negatively affected by the reporting of this condition.
Whilst current evidence shows that the occurrence of this genetic defect is low within the breeding population, the AWHA believes that Breeders should be aware of this condition, test their Breeding stock, and avoid carrier to carrier matings due to the devastating consequences if a live affected foal is born, as well as the negative commercial consequences to both stallion and mare owners resulting from abortions or still births of affected foals.
In order to assist our Breeders to make informed decisions, the AWHA Ltd is proposing a change to the AWHA Breeding Guidelines, and they will be presented at our next AWHA Federal AGM as follows - all Mares and Stallions presented for AWHA Ltd Classification from 1st July 2019, are required to be DNA tested for FFS and their results will be recorded in the AWHA Ltd Studbook records. Stallion results will also be published on the AWHA Ltd Stallion Directory, so that Mare owners are able to make informed decisions when selecting a Stallion to breed to.
AWHA registered horses are NOW
able to receive a discount for DNA testing of FFS, through the Practical Horse Genetics
lab, whose testing process has been validated via an independent source. The cost of this test has been reduced to $48 AUS per horse. You will need to enter this code into the online application form - AWHAFF
Please note: if using this discount code, test results will be copied to the AWHA Ltd Federal Registrar.
The AWHA Ltd recommends that all AWHA Breeders test their mares and stallions prior to the commencement of this breeding season. The DNA test comprises of taking a hair sample from either the underside of the horse's mane or the dock of their tail. If taking samples from multiple horses, please ensure that you wash your hands in between taking hair samples, so as to avoid cross contamination of the samples.
Please refer to the attachments below for more information.