Hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia (HERDA) in Quarter Horses: A review of clinical signs, genetics and research

A. M. Rashmir-Raven, Sharon Spier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia (HERDA) results from a genetic mutation which affects the skin and other tissues of Quarter Horses and horses with Quarter Horse lineage. The disease HERDA has an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance and has become a significant concern in the Quarter Horse industry due to the high frequency of heterozygote carriers. Affected homozygous horses appear normal at birth; however, within the first 2 years of life they usually acquire loose, hyperextensible skin and wounds which result in disfiguring scars either spontaneously or from minor trauma. Some severely affected horses also develop haematomas and seromas. Consequently, most affected horses are subjected to euthanasia at an early age. No treatment options other than palliative therapy currently exist. As part of a five panel test ( the American Quarter Horse Association presently requires DNA testing for HERDA on all breeding stallions. There are currently no restrictions on registration of horses heterozygous or homozygous for the HERDA mutation. Due to the autosomal recessive nature of the disease, Quarter Horse mares and horses of all breeds from HERDA-associated bloodlines should also be tested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-611
Number of pages8
JournalEquine Veterinary Education
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  • Genetic mutation
  • Hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia
  • Horse
  • Quarter Horse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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