Wobblers in broodmares

What are the general thoughts on using a mare with ‘wobblers’ as a broodmare? I have searched the archives here and it looks like there have been some studies regarding this, but I have not been able to locate them. The mare is a maiden, so looking at offspring is not an option. The vet who performed surgery on the mare does not believe that it is an issue - but that is one opinion. It is also unknown if the problem was injury related or not. Does anyone have personal experience with this or can you point me in the direction of the studies. Thanks!

Personally, unless you can pinpoint the source of spinal cord compression to a specific trauma, I would not risk breeding her, especially if it’s for resale. Did she have the basket surgery? And what kind of damage was there on her vertebrae?

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Nope, not unless, as horsechick, said, you can prove it’s trauma-related, or at least reasonably well prove it’s not genetic. Look at any full siblings, and look at any 1/2 sibs by/out of each parent.

Personally, I wouldn’t risk it, and it’s not just about her physical ability to carry a foal

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I agree with the others- I would not risk breeding a wobbler. For one, she could get significantly worse and need to be put down; and two, you don’t know WHY she is a wobbler. I’ve dealt with wobblers that ended up being euthanized- The yearling and 2 yr old were both were very scary to watch get up after laying down as well as very poor movers. As they grew, they got worse.

There are plenty of other nice mares out there without issues that I wouldn’t chance breeding a wobbler IMHO.

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Wobblers can be genetic. Research on vit E, they used mares and stallions that were know to throw it and they produced 80% Wobbler offspring.
I was so nervous of it occurring in my colt (because his dam was so fast growing) that I fed vit e as a precaution. He is much smaller so it wasn’t an issue but I think it would be horrible to have to put down an otherwise healthy young horse.

This is a different study but suggests the same findings: http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=657

The general literature out there still indicates that as with all DOD, the occurrence is most likely multi-factorial: a combination of factors, genetics being one of those factors, of course. Male horses are statistically much more likely than females to develop either form of wobbler syndrome. I can’t recall exactly, but I think it’s like 6:1 males to females.
http://www.vitaflex.com/res_doda.php
But, just for the sake of discussion here; if giving Vitamin E is used as a “precaution” (as mentioned in this thread) and even as a specific treatment for wobblers, that seems to suggest that there is belief that a nutritional aspect to the presence of the disease also exists. I believe it is an epigenetic, or everything influences everything sort of thing: with large, fast growing babies, you’d best make sure they get all the necessary bone and tissue building nutrients at every stage and also that they don’t smash into fences, or get handled inappropriately with their young soft necks, training, etc.
So, back to square one, imo, which is do everything you can to avoid problems in your offspring by starting with a clean slate: choose healthy, problem-free mares, consult with nutrition experts, raise offspring in the most optimal environment you can provide, etc., etc.
The study most oft cited bred wobbler mares to wobbler stallions and the offspring did NOT show a statistically higher incidence of wobbler disease, BUT those offspring did have a higher than normal incidence of other DOD related problems. We don’t know how well those foals were raised or fed, so ??? more speculation.
I say don’t invite trouble.

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Extrapolating this into dogs - always a bad thing - we had a Doberman male with wobbler syndrome. Our vet told us that, although a rare condition, if it was found in dogs, it would be most likely in Dobermans. This leads one to believe that it is genetic, at least to some extent.

Wobblers- as it presents in dogs- Ive never seen a horse with it so not sure its the exact same syndrome… is definitely genetic. There are whole doberman lines with a very high incidence. their conformation is not helpful, but the basic cervical vertebral instability is strongly linked. Foxtrots I agree 100% with your post and wouldnt breed a dog with it knowingly, and if I had a horse with it, would not as well. Not to mention would not the weight of pregnancy aggravate the condition by putting pressure on the spine?
Foxtrot, sorry about your dog. Its not really that rare in dobes, sadly.

My personal feeling is that it has a strong genetic component. I know one stallion retired from breeding because he became known for producing wobblers. In any case, it costs SO much produce a healthy foal, raise it to riding age and get it broken and going under saddle that I would never risk breeding a mare who was a wobbler.

Seriously, are you prepared to retire this mare for the rest of her life if she does produce a wobbler? What if she has already produced another foal or two in the meantime, what will you do with them? Are you prepared to retire a young wobbler for a lifetime or put it down? Does it enhance your reputation to have a mare that is a wobbler in your breeding program? Could you in good conscience ever sell the foal without disclosing that the dam was a wobbler? How do you think it will affect saleability and sale price? How would you handle it if you sold the offspring (even with disclosure) and it later did turn out to be a wobbler?

[QUOTE=Indy-lou;6630450]The general literature out there still indicates that as with all DOD, the occurrence is most likely multi-factorial: a combination of factors, genetics being one of those factors, of course. Male horses are statistically much more likely than females to develop either form of wobbler syndrome. I can’t recall exactly, but I think it’s like 6:1 males to females.
http://www.vitaflex.com/res_doda.php
But, just for the sake of discussion here; if giving Vitamin E is used as a “precaution” (as mentioned in this thread) and even as a specific treatment for wobblers, that seems to suggest that there is belief that a nutritional aspect to the presence of the disease also exists. I believe it is an epigenetic, or everything influences everything sort of thing: with large, fast growing babies, you’d best make sure they get all the necessary bone and tissue building nutrients at every stage and also that they don’t smash into fences, or get handled inappropriately with their young soft necks, training, etc.
So, back to square one, imo, which is do everything you can to avoid problems in your offspring by starting with a clean slate: choose healthy, problem-free mares, consult with nutrition experts, raise offspring in the most optimal environment you can provide, etc., etc.
The study most oft cited bred wobbler mares to wobbler stallions and the offspring did NOT show a statistically higher incidence of wobbler disease, BUT those offspring did have a higher than normal incidence of other DOD related problems. We don’t know how well those foals were raised or fed, so ??? more speculation.
I say don’t invite trouble.[/QUOTE]

For clarity, I used the paper as an example of how they could breed for it. The study did say that one stallion had a 40% rate of Wobbles offspring, which suggests a very high genetic correlation. Now maybe it is a genetic predisposition for vit e deficiency but there is definitely a very high correlation between heritability and Wobblers.
In no way was I suggestion that the risk should be offset by feeding vit E. My mare was not a Wobbler but she did grow fast and that attribute can put them at risk.

Wobbler

Wobbler (not “wobblers”) is definitely genetic. There was a Trakehner stallion in our area quite a few years ago that produced MANY wobbler offspring. They kept right on breeding him anyway.

Thank you for the replies. A few too many “unknowns” for my conscience.

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StoneLily , Thank you for deciding that. It shows responsible breeding and there is far too little of that. One year ago after losing my Hanoverian to a broken leg, I searched for another partner. I did NINE vet checks- so hard bc of Covid I couldn’t travel to see them first. Weird findings on wellbred expensive warmbloods-congenital cataracts, a case of wobblers in three year old (almost fell over on tail pull, tripped on circles, but in lunging and riding videos looked perfect), OCDs on virtually everyone that were surgical, and kissing spines. Ugh, I finally found an amazing two year old KWPN, perfect back, joints on all films, no OCDs. He was big so I made sure he was only on dry pasture, grass hay, ration balance with one handful of TC senior (lower in NSC, higher fat) for putting ration balance in, smartvite, their joint supp, and Vit E. Fast forward to November and he began to tip over with hoof trimming, not wanting to move forward when free lunging in paddock. We had planned on waiting until he was four to start him. We did xrays, myelogram and he had four level compression. I let him go last week. I did everything right, and still lost him. It’s devastating, and I’ve struggled with the idea of continuing to ride. It’s not worth taking any chances, the emotions and the loss are heartbreaking.

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I am so sorry for your loss. What an awful thing.

I believe there is a difficult discussion of this nature on the FB group “Dressage Breeders Group”. There are members with stories like yours that are sharing the pedigree[s] of the horses they’ve had with similar outcomes.

Big hugs for you.

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What a heartbreaking story, I am so sorry. Just recently I saw a big thread on FB about a stock breed horse of some sort, can’t remember what exactly who is apparently having a string of his get euthanized from wobblers. The stallion owner responded that she would no longer be standing him to the public as a result but was still going to breed him for herself. So a little progress I guess but gelding would be better.

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I’m guessing you’re talking about The Wow Factor … he’s APHA, but lots of TB in his pedigree and supposedly almost 18hh, largely used for breeding for the stock horse hunt seat classes, which goes along with the discussion of a correlation with size. Definitely not a “traditional” stock horse type.

I’ve only seen Facebook rumors and have no inside knowledge, but people are saying something like 10% of his get have been euthanized due to wobbler syndrome.

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Yeah that’s it, I couldn’t remember his name.

TWF is a “stock horse” by breeding, just not by type. I didn’t know he was (allegedly) that tall, but it makes sense since he’s the HUS type and that’s what MOs are using him for, to produce HUS horses.

He’s definitely a large % TB, since his dam is full TB, and he has several horses in generation 4 who go right to to TBs.

I just couldn’t remember the horse’s details and didn’t want to post incorrect information so labeled him a stock horse as a generic description.

You’re not wrong, he IS a “stock horse”, which implies AQHA , APHA, or even ApHC breeding

Stock horse type would be more like a stereotypical QH build, so he’s a stock horse (by breeding) with a TB-like build

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