Genetic parameters for chronic progressive lymphedema in Belgian Draught Horses

J Anim Breed Genet. 2014 Dec;131(6):522-8. doi: 10.1111/jbg.12087. Epub 2014 Mar 19.


Genetic parameters for chronic progressive lymphedema (CPL)-associated traits in Belgian Draught Horses were estimated, using a multitrait animal model. Clinical scores of CPL in the four limbs/horse (CPLclin ), skinfold thickness and hair samples (hair diameter) were studied. Due to CPLclin uncertainty in younger horses (progressive CPL character), a restricted data set (D_3+) was formed, excluding records from horses under 3 years from the complete data set (D_full). Age, gender, coat colour and limb hair pigmentation were included as fixed, permanent environment and date of recording as random effects. Higher CPLclin certainty (D_3+) increased heritability coefficients of, and genetic correlations between traits, with CPLclin heritabilities (SE) for the respective data sets: 0.11 (0.06) and 0.26 (0.05). A large proportion of the CPLclin variance was attributed to the permanent environmental effect in D_full, but less in D_3+. Date of recording explained a proportion of variance from 0.09 ± 0.03 to 0.61 ± 0.08. Additive genetic correlations between CPLclin and both skinfold thickness and hair diameter showed the latter two traits cannot be used as a direct diagnostic aid for CPL. Due to the relatively low heritability of CPLclin , selection should focus on estimated breeding values (from repeated clinical examinations) to reduce CPL occurrence in the Belgian Draught Horse.

Keywords: Draught horse; chronic progressive lymphedema; hair diameter; heritability; skinfold thickness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Belgium
  • Disease Progression
  • Horse Diseases / genetics*
  • Horse Diseases / pathology
  • Horses
  • Lymphedema / genetics
  • Lymphedema / pathology
  • Lymphedema / veterinary*