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Determining uveitis (eye inflammation) risk factors in Appaloosa horses

Summary: Researchers will investigate genetic risk factors for equine recurrent uveitis, a common eye condition and leading cause of blindness in horses.

Description: Equine recurrent uveitis is characterized by repeated episodes of inflammation of the uvea, the pigmented and vascular middle layer of the eye. Appaloosa horses are eight times more likely to develop and four times more likely to be blinded by the condition, suggesting genetic factors may influence disease risk. Researchers will search for genes associated with ERU in Appaloosas and determine whether or not the mutation causing the white spotting pattern, for which the breed is known, is a contributing risk factor. This study is the first step toward developing an ERU screening test for Appaloosa horses, allowing for earlier diagnosis and intervention to decrease ERU-associated blindness in this breed.


INVESTIGATOR: Dr. Rebecca R. Bellone, University of California/Davis