Faculteit van de Diergeneeskunde, Rijksuniversiteit te Gent
Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift
Chronic progressive lymphedema (CPL) is a known problem in the Belgian Draught Horse. Nevertheless, tools for clinical diagnosis have not been standardised, and therefore, the exact disease prevalence and possible risk factors for CPL were not investigated in the Belgian breed. We aimed to assess a uniform CPL clinical examination method to increase diagnostic objectivity and determined occurrence and severity of lesions. The association of age-gender interaction, coat color, location and season with CPL occurrence was examined using univariate and stepwise multivariable logistic regression models. We demonstrated that CPL is highly prevalent in the Belgian Draught Horse: on average 56.55% affected in our total sample, including a large proportion of young horses (< 3 years) and 88.21% in an older subset (≥ 3 years), where lesions were more explicit as CPL is a chronic disorder. Mild clinical symptoms were shown to appear from approximately 1 year in some horses (14% of yearlings), while distinct onset occurred from 3 years onwards. We identified and quantified factors (age-gender interaction, coat colour and season of examination) significantly associated with CPL occurrence. The present paper proposes a standardized diagnostic protocol that will enhance future data collection and, furthermore, this paper offers a basis for quantitative genetic research. This will ultimately help to reduce CPL occurrence in the Belgian Draught Horse by means of selection.