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Study: Fibrillation Heritable S-Bred Trait

Published: December 28, 2017 2:16 pm ET

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After having conducting a study which has culminated with a report in a veterinary journal, researchers hailing from Ontario have reached the conclusion that atrial fibrillation has a strong heritability when it comes to the Standardbred breed.

As an article by the helps explain, one of the study’s collaborators, Flavio Schenkel, PhD, from the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College Department of Animal Biosciences, has stated that, “the heritability of atrial fibrillation was found to be quite significant for a disease trait.”

Schenekel went on to add that, based on our the study’s findings, “AF-positive parents will increase the incidence of this disease in the herd and in the population of Standardbred horses as a whole. The increase might be initially slow, but will be cumulative and will gain momentum over generations.”

The study put the health records of 1,200 Standardbred under analysis – more than 200 of which examined at the Ontario Veterinary College Teaching Hospital for atrial fibrillation. The horses’ pedigrees were also examined, an undertaking which encompassed more than 12,000 equine.

One of the findings that stands out from the study, which has also highlighted, is that the majority of the horses that have been deemed ‘atrial fibrillation-positive’ within a 29-year period came from only five ancestors.

The study states that an important next step in getting rid of atrial fibrillation in the breed is to understand how the trait gets transferred from parents to offspring on a genetic/genome level.

To read the study, click here.

(With files from

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