Westphalia and Oldenburg suggest testing for WFFS

In relation to the ongoing discussion of Warmblood Fragile Syndrome (WFFS), there has been a reaction from two of the oldest breeding associations in Germany. The Westphalian Studbook and the two Oldenburg associations recommend mare owners and stallion breeders to do a genetic test.  The results should be published and announced to the breeding associations.

On the homepage of the Westphalian Studbook two texts have been published. In the first post the associations share their position on the genetic deficiency of WFFS. They are concerned about the pathology and heredity and are also focused on the attitude of the horse breeding associations regarding this matter. Most of the German and European Warmblood breeding associations suggest not making decisions too quickly. The first set of tests done on KWPNs had results of 10 stallions being carriers of WFFS from 250 tested diagnosed stallions.

However, some European warmblood breeding associations also have taken more serious measures. The mutual objective of the breeders, stud owners and breeding associations needs to be the prevention of the pairing of WFFS-carrier animals, since there is a 25 percent chance that a foal is born with the risk of the genetic deficiency. Other than that this prevention also needs to be done, because pairing done deliberately of two WFFS carriers would be the concern of animal protection.

To know more about the genetic illness WFFS, there is a study going on in Germany in which all warmblood breeding associations are participating. The study mainly examines how wide spread WFFS has become in the population. Other than that the study will also find out how wide other genetic deficiencies are spread.

Recommendations for breeders

In Sweden, in the Anglo-European Studbook, the testing of stallions has become mandatory. In the announcement of the Westphalian Studbook and the Oldenburg Association it is stated that recommendations to test breeding animals for WFFS are handed out. Soon it might also be a compulsory matter for the breeding associations. The breeding associations will then play the roles of publishers of the results.

In another part of the recommendation it is emphasized that breeders also need to test their mares for safety measures. However, stud owners are also asked to do so. The stallions need to be tested and the results have to be published. Westphalia and Oldenburg also address the possibility of a WFFS-test to be done as a basis for being listed in the Studbook I and subsequently also as a basis for licensing.  However, a breeding exclusion cannot be automatically expected. The recommendations have been sent once again in written form to all stud owners. This writing has also been published on the website of the breeding association.

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