TitleClinical, viral, and genetic evaluation of equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy in a family of Appaloosas.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsBlythe, LL, Hultgren, BD, Craig, AM, Appell, LH, Lassen, ED, Mattson, DE, Duffield, D
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Date Published1991 Mar 15
KeywordsVitamin E Deficiency

A clinical, viral, hematologic , and genetic study was conducted over a 4-year period on a family of Appaloosas with high incidence of clinical ataxia and pathologic features of equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy. Marginal to deficient serum vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) and blood selenium values were the only other consistent antemortem abnormalities in the affected horses. Members of this family were all descendants of a clinically normal mare and were raised in 3 separate environments with variable quality of feed. All horses had access to pasture grasses. Normal chromosomal karyotypes were found in 11 affected and/or related horses examined. Equine herpesvirus type 2 was isolated from 4 of the horses, but evidence for a role of this virus in the pathogenesis of the disease was not found. The role of antioxidant deficiency in the pathogenesis of neurologic dysfunction in this equine family and in others reported to be affected with equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy remains speculative.