NAHMS Equine Study 2015

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) will launch Equine 2015 in May—NAHMS third national study of the U.S. equine industry. As with NAHMS’ 1998 and 2005 equine studies, Equine 2015 is designed to provide participants, industry, and animal-health officials with information on the nation’s equine population that will serve as a basis for education, service, and research related to equine health and management, while providing the industry with new and valuable information regarding trends in the industry for 1998, 2005, and 2015.

For this study, NAHMS asked equine owners, industry stakeholders, and government officials to provide input and define the information needs of the equine industry. From this process, seven study objectives were identified:

• Describe trends in equine care and health management for study years 1998, 2005, and 2015.
• Estimate the occurrence of owner-reported lameness and describe practices associated with the management of lameness.
• Describe health and management practices associated with important equine infectious diseases.
• Describe animal health related costs of equine ownership.
• Evaluate control practices for gastrointestinal parasites.
• Evaluate equines for presence of ticks and describe tick-control practices used on equine operations.
• Collect equine sera along with equine demographic information in order to create a serum bank for future studies.

Horse Industry Survey

2015-Horse-Survey-Ad-284x120American Horse Publications is an organization that works to promote excellence in the communications world. It also helps member groups such as ApHC by conducting an annual survey of the equine business climate. You input really is important, so, if you are a horse owner, please take the time to complete the survey. Thanks.

Categories: Industry news /Research

AHC Seeks Industry Input on 2015 NAHMS Equine Study

The American Horse Council (AHC) is asking its member organizations, their members and the entire horse community to help in the drafting of the 2015 National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) Equine Study, which is in the preparation stages now. NAHMS is within the U. S. Department of Agriculture and is working with the National Agricultural Statistics Service to prepare for its Equine 2015 study.

The horse industry’s input is essential if this study is to address the priorities and questions the horse community has about itself. All organizations are encouraged to pass this request on to their members so that as many horse owners, breeders and stakeholders can participate in the preparation of the 2015 study goals. This important study can go a long way in filling out information gaps in equine industry data. NAHMS is seeking input through the end of 2013.

The AHC stresses that the horse community has the opportunity to help determine the objectives of the study by identifying what information it would like to know about itself. A 5-minute survey can be completed at, which will help ensure that this is the best study possible. The survey is intended to identify the specific information that members of the horse community deem valuable. Surveys must be completed by Dec. 31, 2013. NAHMS will use the survey results to draft the parameters of its 2015 study.

This will be NAHMS’ third national study of the equine industry. It is scheduled to begin in summer 2015. Studies are conducted every 10 years, and the last one took place in 2005. Results of previous NAHMS equine studies are available at:

Any comments or questions can be addressed to Dr. Josie Traub-Dargatz at 970-494-7261 or

Appaloosa Project update

From researcher Sheila Archer:

Hi Everyone!

I’ve just posted a new article on our website for everyone who is interested in learning more about what the recent LP research means. It was written by Dr. Bellone and I, and it explains what the SNP discovery means, what is possible now because of it (eg. DNA testing for LP), how such a test would work, and where we’re going from here with our LP research.

Rather than putting it up as a “Hot Topic”, the article is accessible directly from the main menu on our website. This means all visitors, whether they have subscriptions or not, can read it. The name of the link is “LP Discovery!”, and it’s the bottom one in the list of links.

To access the article directly, you can also click on: LP Discovery!

We hope you find this information useful and interesting! Please feel free to post questions to the list after you’ve had a chance to read it!

Sheila Archer

Categories: Announcements /Research

Survey on equine infectious disease issues

My name is Dr. Shana Gillette and I am a faculty member in the Clinical Sciences Department of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University. I am the principal investigator on a study of equine infectious disease issues. Dr. Josie Traub-Dargatz, CSU Professor of equine medicine, is the co-principal investigator. As part of the study, we are conducting an online survey on infectious diseases of concern to the equine industry.

We hope you will be willing to alert your members to the importance of our online survey. It is important that we receive broad participation from all members of the equine industry for a fair representation of concerns regarding equine infectious disease issues.

We hope you and your association members can take a few minutes to fill out our online survey. It is available at the following link:

Completion of this survey is voluntary. People who decide to participate may withdraw consent and stop participation at any time without penalty. The survey will not ask for a name or email address, to ensure that all answers remain anonymous. Colorado State University will securely collect and store the data. The collected data will then be validated and analyzed and results will be published on the website for the Animal Population Health Institute at:

While there are no direct benefits to be gained to individuals who participate in this survey, we hope the equine industry will gain more knowledge on the primary equine diseases of concern. There are no known risks to participation.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Shana Gillette at (970) 297-5117 ( If you have any questions about your rights as a volunteer in this research, contact Janell Barker, Human Research Administrator, at 970-491-1655.

Dr. Shana Gillette, Assistant Professor
Dr. Josie Traub-Dargatz, Professor

Domestic horse genome sequenced

DNAFrom a news release generated by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, published in Science magazine and available in full at

An international team of researchers has decoded the genome of the domestic horse Equus caballus, revealing a genome structure with remarkable similarities to humans and more than one million genetic differences across a variety of horse breeds. In addition to shedding light on a key part of the mammalian branch of the evolutionary tree, the work also provides a critical starting point for mapping disease genes in horses.

“Horses and humans suffer from similar illnesses, so identifying the genetic culprits in horses promises to deepen our knowledge of disease in both organisms,” said senior author Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, scientific director of vertebrate genome biology at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and a professor of comparative genomics at Uppsala University in Sweden. “The horse genome sequence is a key enabling resource toward this goal.”

In addition to sequencing the genome of a Thoroughbred horse, the researchers also examined DNA from a variety of other horse breeds, including the American quarter horse, Andalusian, Arabian, Belgian draft horse, Hanoverian, Hakkaido, Icelandic horse, Norwegian fjord horse, and Standardbred breeds. The team surveyed the extent of genetic variation both within and across breeds to create a catalog of more than one million single-letter genetic differences (called “single nucleotide polymorphisms” or SNPs).

In a first proof-of-principle of the power of trait mapping in horses, the researchers harnessed the SNP catalog to localize the candidate mutation in the Leopard Complex or “Appaloosa spotting,” in which horses’ coats are mottled with striking patches of white, either with or without colored spots. Horses carrying this trait often suffer from a form of night blindness, a disorder that also afflicts humans. The researchers narrowed the list of genetic suspects in horses to 42 associated SNPs, including two candidate mutations residing near a gene involved in pigmentation.

“This demonstrates the utility of the horse for disease gene mapping,” said Wade. “By making these resources freely available to the scientific community, we hope that many new results will flow from them in the coming years.”

Research invitation: genetic control of body size

Horse Morpho FlyerRelease from Cornell University:

What makes your horse different from the horse in the stall over? Why doesn’t a Kentucky Derby contender walk like a Budweiser Clydesdale? Why don’t either of them look like Thumbelina, the current Guinness World Record holder for the world’s smallest living horse? The domestic horse comes in a range of sizes, shapes, and temperaments—from the tiny American Miniature Horse to the massive draft breeds, humans have historically bred horses for both aesthetic and functional qualities. For the horse in particular, size and conformation have been two major driving forces for the development of the diverse breeds we see today. Horses have been bred to pull carts, jump fences, or run a mile-long race. When horse breeders look to improve these abilities in their stock, they are often selecting for changes in genes, called alleles, that affect body size and conformation.

Allele variation in several genes has already been shown to contribute to body size diversity in many species. As body size genes affect fundamental developmental processes such as cell growth, they can sometimes be correlated to other diseases, like the tumor growth seen in cancer. By exploring the genetics of body size in the horse, we hope to improve not only the livelihood of the horse population, but also better understand the genetics of diseases that affect all mammals, including humans. Furthermore, when we investigate body size genes, we will look for genes that contribute to breed-specific traits in the horse, especially conformation and skeletal qualities valued by breeders.

Body size and complex disease genes can only be identified through the DNA analysis of hundreds of horses from many different breeds and types. Your horse has a unique pattern of genes that, when compared to other horses, can give a clue to the genes and interactions that control body size. DNA can be isolated from almost any cell in the body, and in this case the skin tags from a routine tail hair pull will supply more than enough DNA for us to analyze. In addition to this hair sample, our study will require a profile photo, 3-generation pedigree, and 35 measurements of your horse. These measurements will help us judge the size and conformation of your horse relative to other horses, and are an essential component of our study. The entire process should take only about 15 minutes of your time per horse. All information is strictly confidential.

Every individual horse is an important contribution to our study and another step towards improving the quality of life for both horses and humans.

For more information, please contact the Brooks and Sutter Genetics Labs at (607) 254-8217, or at (607) 253-3592,

We hope to hear from you!

Categories: Announcements /Research

Survey about influential Appaloosa stallions

DunBelow you will find a brief introduction and link for a survey regarding Appaloosa stallions throughout the history of the breed. Your participation in the survey supports an active youth member who has developed her graduate thesis around the Appaloosa breed. The ApHC is proud to support its youth membership and we are asking you to as well by participating in the following survey:

I’m Brandy Kines and am writing to solicit your help in the research process of my thesis. I am a long-time member of the Appaloosa Horse Club and have been showing Appaloosas since I was five. Currently I am pursuing a master’s degree in Agricultural Communications at Texas A&M University.

For my thesis, I am chronicling the stallions that have influenced the Appaloosa breed and industry since the 1960s. I have read the book Spotted Pride and it has influenced me to pursue this as a thesis topic.
I am contacting individuals who are active participants in the industry. If you agree to help, you will be asked to complete an online survey to identify the stallions you believe should be included in the thesis, which should take a maximum of 15 minutes.

After the survey, if you have had personal involvement (breeder, trainer, exhibitor, etc) with one of the stallions identified for the study, you may be asked to participate in an interview about the stallion. The interview will take no longer than an hour.

I appreciate your taking the time to consider helping me with this undertaking. If you are interested in participating, please use the following link to access the survey.

Brandy Kines