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|What are Genetic Anomalies?|
| A 'negative anomaly' is when a gene mutates to become a recessive (xx) gene despite what it might otherwise have been. Negative anomalies are the main type of anomaly discussed, and are typically referred to as plainly "anomalies".
A 'positive anomaly' is when a gene mutates to become a homozygous (XX) gene despite what it might otherwise have been.
While negative anomalies can be scary, do not be intimidated by them. The chances for anomalies are outlined in detail below. If none of these problems exist, the foal will have a very small chance of negative anomalies.
|What causes Genetic Anomalies?|
Genetic anomalies can be caused by several things, though some only contribute minimally towards anomaly chances while others contribute more substantially.
You can read more about each of these contributing factors below.
Each factor that has a chance to cause anomalies is added into the overall chance of a foal inheriting anomalies. This chance would be applied to each of the foal's applicable genes, meaning each gene would have a chance of inheriting an anomaly.
Anomalies will happen regardless of what the gene would have naturally been from the cross. It is entirely possible for an Outstanding x Outstanding cross to result in Poor if negative anomalies come into play. With this in mind, you'll want to do what you can to minimize the chances of negative anomalies in a match.
|Every breeding will start with a small chance for negative anomalies, which the following contributing factors add on top of. This means if none of the following apply, any negative anomalies can be contributed to a small, unavoidable chance.||Health and Development|
Any recessive (hh) genes in Health and/or Development in the parents are minor causes of negative anomalies. Recessive genes in the stallion (sire) are more likely to cause anomalies than in the mare. If you can see the genetic rating for a gene, you can assess the likelihood of it having a recessive gene. Poor genes always have 2 recessive genes; Fair always have 1; Good may have 1.
Since each individual recessive gene in the cross contributes to the odds of the foal receiving a negative anomaly, it is important to pay attention to how many total chances are adding up.
|Feeding a mare Legacy is a minor contributor to genetic anomalies. This does not apply to stallions, nor mares fed Legacy prior to November of Year 45.|
Throughout the course of a mare's pregnancy, she will gain or lose pregnancy risk. This is determined mostly by how well she is cared for, both at the time of covering and during her pregnancy. Older mares tend to have higher risk simply because it is more difficult to manage their Energy and Condition.
Many mares foal with some degree of risk and this is normal and expected. Do not be alarmed if your mare's pregnancy risk is something like 10% the month she's due to foal. The chance for negative anomalies (and other negative impacts) starts at 30%, and raises the higher the Risk. However, do keep in mind that pregnancy risk is a major contributor toward anomalies! It's not uncommon to see almost all Poor genes in a foal born from a near-100% risk mare.
|Missing Second Checkups|
|There is also an increased likelihood of a foal being born with negative anomalies if the dam has missed their second checkup. The second checkup should be done by December or sooner to avoid this happening. Double checking at the vet to make sure you haven’t accidentally missed any checkups before January can be an excellent way to prevent any accidental missed checkups.|
|Stallion condition at the time of covering a mare is an important factor in determining anomalies. If a stallion isn't in good condition, the foal will most likely suffer a great number of anomalies. To avoid negative anomaly chances from condition, a stallion should be 70% or higher condition at time of covering.|
|Crossing near or exact blood types can benefit breeding in many ways, just as crossing types too far apart can negatively impact a breeding. Any foal that results from a I x V cross will have a high chance of inheriting a substantial number of anomalies. Thankfully, this is easily avoidable by paying close attention when you are matching your mare. If your mare is an unknown type, simply send her to a stud who is not I or V just to err on the side of caution.||Mutations|
|Mutations can also either benefit or negatively impact the outcome of a breeding, depending on which mutation, if any, the sire and dam have. If one or both parents have a good mutation, the cross will nearly always roll as if it were a perfect blood type match and is the only way to get chances for positive anomalies. If one or both parents have a bad mutation, the cross will be treated as if it were a I X V cross, which has a high chance of a large number of negative anomalies. Mutations can be tested for via a horse's genetics page if they have at least 10 foals on the ground or are pensioned.|
|Lethal Silver Syndrome|
|Lethal Silver Syndrome (LSS) is a rare breeding complication unique to FFH that impacts foals in utero. It happens when two horses are bred together that each carry a Silver (ZZ or Zz) color gene. In addition to contributing to genetic anomalies, it is often even more disastrous and should be carefully avoided. Almost all foals from LSS breedings will be stillborn! There is also a very high likelihood that the mare will die due to complications of LSS.|
|Lethal Champagne Syndrome|
|Lethal Champagne Syndrome (LCS) is a rare breeding complication unique to FFH that impacts foals in utero. It happens when two horses are bred together that each carry a Champagne (CH or Ch) color gene. In addition to contributing to genetic anomalies, it is often even more disastrous and should be carefully avoided. Almost all foals from LCS breedings will be stillborn! There is also a very high likelihood that the mare will die due to complications of LCS as well.|