November 10, 2015
AURORA, CO. – The Arabian Horse Foundation has announced $11,000 in equine research funding for support of projects studying Equine Metabolic Syndrome, Juvenile Idiopathic Epilepsy, and hoof imbalance and lameness. This latest round of equine research funding brings the total given by the Foundation in the last eight years to over $65,000.
An award of $6,400 will provide continued support for two projects headed by Dr. Samantha Brooks at the University of Florida (Gainesville): one project researching Equine Metabolic Syndrome in the Arabian horse, along with an additional project to expand studies of heritable disease in the Arabian horse and investigate the genetic basis for Juvenile Idiopathic Epilepsy.
Beth Minnich, who chairs the Foundation’s Equine Research Advisory Panel, said of the recent awards, “it is very gratifying to see the progress that has been made with the Foundation’s research program, particularly in the area of genetic disorders. This progress has only been possible with the support of our donors and through those efforts the Arabian horse community is able to have more of a direct voice in equine research.”
The $6,400 award to Dr. Brooks is for continued work on an Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) project which the Foundation has been supporting since 2010. Minnich adds “preliminary results for this project include genetic mapping and discovery of a genetic marker of interest. Future work for this project includes validating this allele with additional sampling.” This study has the potential to assist owners in more readily identifying horses at greater risk of EMS – allowing for improved management of these individuals, especially in regard to feeding and exercise programs. A frequent complication of EMS is laminitis, which is one of the most common causes of lameness and death in horses.
In addition, Dr. Brooks is continuing a project started in 2014 to study the genetic basis for Juvenile Idiopathic Epilepsy (JIE). JIE is a seizure condition that can affect very young horses. The goal of this project is to identify the genetic cause of JIE in the Arabian horse and ultimately develop a diagnostic test to assist owners and breeders in identifying carrier breeding stock. Minnich notes “the preliminary data from this project shows some exciting results and this project is entering into a validation phase, as the Brooks’ group has identified a candidate genetic marker that requires further investigation.” The lab group is actively seeking additional samples from horses who have been diagnosed with JIE (either active cases or in the past), as well as unaffected relatives of these horses to serve as controls. Interested owners are encouraged to contact the Brooks Equine Genetics Lab for more information on participating in this study: Phone: (352) 273-8080, Email: email@example.com
A $4,700 award is going to Dr. Babak Faramarzi at Western University to study the effect of hoof imbalance and lameness. Minnich states “this project is built upon a previously funded Foundation research project in which a pressure plate was used to gather hoof strike data before and after hoof trimming.” The results of this study will provide data on load distribution at different regions of the hoof in response to regular trimming. Minnich adds “this study may also lead to additional work to evaluate the effects of different trimming and shoeing practices currently used in the show ring.”
The Arabian Horse Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Arabian Horse Association. The Foundation provides funding support for equine research, youth, education and rescue & rehoming. The Foundation would like to thank all of its donors for their support, as well as the owners who participate in the studies. Whether it is a little or a lot, every dollar matters. Donations can be made by using the donation check box on the AHA membership form when renewing or joining. Donations can also be made online with PayPal at the Foundation’s website or by sending a check to the Foundation at the AHA offices. Donors can also designate if they want their funds directed toward a specific area of Foundation activity, such as research.
The Arabian Horse Foundation is a 501c3 and as such all donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. For more information about the Foundation and becoming a donor, please visit http://www.thearabianhorsefoundation.org. For additional information on the Arabian Horse Foundation’s Research Program please contact: Beth Minnich, Research Advisory Chair – firstname.lastname@example.org