Cerebellar abiotrophy (CA), also referred to as cerebellar cortical abiotrophy (CCA), is a genetic neurological disease in certain species of animals. To date CA is known to affect breeds of dogs and horses. The disorder manifests itself when the neurons known as Purkinje cells that affect balance and coordinationare present in the cerebellum of the brain.
Cerebellar abiotrophy (CA) is a condition known to affect Arabian horses as well as Miniature horses, the Gotland Pony and possibly the Oldenburg. In most cases foals appear normal at birth, and symptoms generally become noticeable after four months. There have been reported cases where the condition was observed shortly after birth, while others report symptoms developing after the first year.
Horses affected with CA tend to startle easily and often fall. Common symptoms include head tremor, a lack of balance and other neurological issues. Affected horses may develop a wide-based stance of the forelegs and difficulty rising from a reclining position.
In horses, CA is believed to be linked to an autosomal recessive gene. This means that it is not sex-linked and the allele has to be carried and passed on by both parents in order for an affected animal to be born.
Horses that only carry one copy of the gene may pass it on to their offspring, despite being perfectly healthy themselves without symptoms of the disease.
Because the disorder is recessive, the allele for CA may pass through multiple generations before it is expressed. CA is sometimes confused with Wobbler's syndrome, Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) and injury-related problems, such as a concussion.
Cerebellar abiotrophy (CA) Testing
Animal Genetics offers
DNA testing and detection for genetic mutation associated with CA in Arabian horses.
US per sample.
Collect sample by pulling (not cutting) 20-30
mane or tail hairs with roots attached. It is important that you
pull the hairs and confirm that the actual root of the hair is being
collected. The root contains the genetic material of your horse
that is needed for DNA testing. Therefore, cut hairs do not provide
an adequate sample of your horse. Place the collected hairs of each
horse in a separate zip-lock bag labeling the bags accordingly with
the horses name or identification number. Download and complete
a submission form for each sample and send along with
payment to Animal Genetics for testing.
Results are given using the following symbolic
| Affected: Horse has 2 copies of the mutation associated with CA and is considered to have the disease.
| Carrier: Horse has 1 copy of the mutation associated with CA. Horse tested heterozygous
for CA. The horse carries the CA mutation and there is a 50% chance this horse will pass a CA allele to its offspring.
tested negative for the mutation associated with CA.