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Cerebellar abiotrophy

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Uploaded on Oct 9, 2007

This horse lived 2003-2013 and was DNA tested and verified CA/CA.

Cerebellar abiotrophy is a genetic recessive disease in Arabian horses. It is also called Cerebellar cortical abiotrophy, cerebellar hypoplasia, or cerebellar ataxia. It is characterized by head tremors, lack of coordination and inability to gauge distance. Most are hyperreactive and startle easily. Many affected horses also move with an odd head-bobbing motion and have exaggerated leg movements.

In short, horses with this condition do not have a sense of depth perception or of spatial relationships. They literally don't know where they are. They can see and learn, so they begin to use other senses to compensate. This filly has "memorized" where things are located, but when excited, she still miscalculates (as seen in the video where she almost collides with a fence)

Its cause is the atrophy of purkinje cells in the cerebellum, beginning at or shortly after the birth of the horse. Why the gene triggers this condition is not known.

This filly was two years old at the time the video was taken. She has learned to compensate somewhat for her condition, but many foals are so severly affected that they are euthanized before they are a year old. However, even though she has learned to avoid hurting herself most of the time, she will never be safe to ride.

There is no cure for this condition. Little can be done to treat it, other than to keep the horse in a calm environment where they experience very little change. The only hope is for researchers to develop a DNA carrier test to determine if a horse carries the gene, and once this happens, for breeders to then avoid breeding known carriers to one another.

Research is ongoing at the University of California-Davis and at the University of Bern in Switzerland. Please support their efforts.
For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerebell...

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