Quarter horse with almond blossoms

New American Quarter Horse Association Online Educational Resource for Equine Genetic Health

Understanding the results of genetic testing and how to best utilize them is an important component for advancing the health of animals. The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) recently formed a task force consisting of veterinarians, geneticists, AQHA staff and AQHA members, to assist in the development of an online resource to aid in the understanding and utilization of the results of genetic testing performed by the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL). 

The AQHA and UC Davis VGL have long been partners promoting health, performance, breed integrity, and wellbeing of American Quarter Horses since the organization began using VGL’s services for parentage testing in 1961. As a member of the AQHA genetic health panel task force, Dr. Rebecca Bellone, VGL director, provided her expertise on equine genetics education. Dr. Bellone notes

As education is an integral part of our mission, the VGL is very proud to be involved in this great new resource that will extend knowledge of AQHA genetic testing and how to best utilize the results.”

Tammy Canida, AQHA registrar, adds

The AQHA is fortunate to have a passionate group of members and scientists who care about the betterment of the American Quarter Horse and volunteer their time to serve on these committees and task forces, and provide vital information for the decision-making process.” 

This resource provides detailed information specific to the genotype for each of the six genetic diseases tested on the AQHA Genetic Health panel: Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP), Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia (HERDA), Malignant Hyperthermia (MH), Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM), Myosin-Heavy Chain Myopathy (MYHM) and Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency (GBED).

The information provided includes the meaning of each genotype, possible clinical signs and treatment options based on genotype, possible mating outcomes, and additional resources (Figure 1).  

AQHA online educational resource for MYHM
Figure 1: Online educational resource provided by AQHA on Myosin-Heavy Chain Myopathy.


The online resource is offered as a tool to assist owners and breeders with best management and breeding decisions in consultation with their veterinarians and is available at Genetic Health - AQHA.