83 (3) 119-124

Chronic progressive lymphedema in the Belgian draft horse in Belgium: clinical phenotyping, prevalence and risk factor analysis
K. De Keyser, S. Janssens, L.M. Peeters, F. Gasthuys, M. Oosterlinck, N. Buys

Chronic progressive lymphedema (CPL) is a well-known problem in the Belgian draft horse.However, tools for clinical diagnosis have not been standardized. Therefore, the exact diseaseprevalence and the possible CPL risk factors have not been investigated in the Belgian breedyet. The aim of the present study was to assess a uniform CPL clinical examination method toincrease diagnostic objectivity as well as to determine the occurrence and severity of lesions.Using univariate and stepwise multivariable logistic regression models, the association of factors,such as age-gender interaction, coat color and season, with CPL occurrence was examined. In thisstudy, it was demonstrated that CPL is highly prevalent in the Belgian draft horse: 60.66% of thehorses of the total sample were affected, including a large proportion of young horses (< 3 years),whereas 85.86% was affected in a subset of older horses (≥ 3 years). In the latter, the lesions weremore explicit as CPL is a chronic disorder. In some horses (i.e. 14% of the yearlings), mild clinicalsymptoms appeared at approximately the age of one, while distinct onset of the disease occurredfrom the age of three onwards. The factors age-gender interaction, coat color and season, whichare significantly associated with CPL occurrence, were identified and quantified. In this study,a standardized diagnostic protocol is proposed that will enhance future data collection andfurthermore will offer a foundation for quantitative genetic research. Ultimately, it will help toreduce CPL occurrence in the Belgian draft horse by means of selection.

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