Insect bite hypersensitivity in Belgian Warmblood horses
Insect Bite Hypersensitivity (IBH) is a recognised problem in Belgian Warmblood Horses (BWH) with an estimated prevalence of 10%.
IBH causes an allergic reaction to salivary antigens from numerous biting insects. This allergic reaction causes severe itching which can result in damage to the coat and skin of horses. There are indications that genetic factors are involved in determining susceptibility to IBH. Heritability estimates of susceptibility to IBH range from 0 to 0.36 in Icelandic horses, Shetland ponies and Friesian Horses. However, there are no reports of heritability estimates in Warmblood horses. The aim of this study was to assess the genetic factors that are involved in susceptibility to IBH in BWH.
Data about 3409 horses were collected using a questionnaire. Horses were categorized under two disease classifiers: based on a lifetime record and on the clinical status at the time of questioning.
Based on this study the estimates of the heritability of IBH ranged between 0.18 and 0.26 on the observed scale. This indicates that susceptibility to IBH is a heritable trait in the Belgian Warmblood Horse population and thus can be used in selection.
> From: Peeters et al., The Veterinary Journal 206 (2015) 420-422. All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd.. Click here for the online summary.