Frequently Asked Questions

Not finding an answer to your question? Email us at eggl-muscledis@umn.edu!

COVID-19 UPDATE: In adherence to the University of Minnesota and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for COVID-19, our lab members will be teleworking until further notice. Your packages will be received at our loading dock and mailbox, but will remain there until collected by a lab member on a weekly basis. This means you can continue to send your hay, grain, and supplement samples, however, please send hair roots instead of blood samples for the next few weeks.You can also continue to fill out our Muscle Disease in Horses survey and upload files to Dropbox if you haven’t already during this time. 

Is your lab working with EquiSeq?

Is your lab working with EquiSeq?

We are working with EquiSeq to understand the alleles they are testing for and to design appropriate genotyping assays. However, we are conducting this study as an independent entity to provide an unbiased validation of their tests and also to expand our knowledge about management techniques that may improve outcomes for individual horses with muscle disease.

Would a non-PSSM horse be helpful to your study?

Would a non-PSSM horse be helpful to your study?

Yes. We want to compare disease-causing alleles across different categories of muscle disease. Horses affected with muscle diseases besides polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) are encouraged to participate in this study.

 

What type of information will I need to provide in the survey?

What type of information will I need to provide in the survey?

Please see our Owner Checklist for all the information we will be asking in the survey.

Do I have to have all the testing done to include my horse in this study?

Do I have to have all the testing done to include my horse in this study?

No. You may include your horses in the study even if your horses have not been genetically tested or had bloodwork done. Whether your horses have been previously genetically tested or not, we will use the hair roots or blood samples to do so.

Is my information and my horses’ information kept anonymous?

Is my information and my horses’ information kept anonymous?

Yes. Your information will be kept confidential. Please see our Owner’s Informed Consent. We will also keep your horses’ information confidential.

Why do I need a control horse?

Why do I need a control horse?

In experimental studies, controls are considered to be the entity you would normally see in everyday life; they serve as natural comparisons to the experimental group. In our case, our “experimental group” consists of horses affected with muscle disease to then compare the “control group” consisting of horses not affected with muscle disease of similar breed and gender that reside on the same property.

For example, we are requesting participants to use horses on the same property because by comparing horses with similar management strategies, we can begin to rule out factors like different diets or housing tactics that could otherwise alleviate or aggravate muscle disease. Therefore, in order to understand all the components that could cause or worsen muscle disease in horses, a control horse in good condition from the same property is needed to provide us with a standard to compare to the case horse’s condition.

What if I don’t have a control horse? Can I still participate?

What if I don’t have a control horse? Can I still participate?

We highly encourage you to use a control horse, as this is necessary for us to properly examine factors affecting muscle disease in your horse (see Why do I need a control horse?). However, if there is no option for a control, please email us at eggl-muscledis@umn.edu. We will work with you as best we can!

Can I include my horse in this study?

Can I include my horse in this study?

We are not selective in who decides to participate other than ensuring that you are filling out a survey for both a horse affected with muscle disease (or muscle issues) and an unaffected horse of similar breed and age that resides on the same property. For more specific questions, please direct them to our email at eggl-muscledis@umn.edu.

Can I include more than one case and control horse?

Can I include more than one case and control horse?

You may take the survey however many times you’d like with different case/control pairs. However, please ensure that the control horse is similar in age and breed to the case horse(s) you choose for the survey. If the number of control horses does not match the number of case horses you have (or vice versa), send us an email at eggl-muscledis@umn.edu.

Can I use a control horse if it is deceased?

Can I use a control horse if it is deceased?

Yes, but only if a hair root or blood sample is available for isolation of DNA. We need the genotype of a horse on the same property to compare to the case horse.

Can I use a case horse if it is deceased?

Can I use a case horse if it is deceased?

Yes, but only if a hair root or blood sample is available for isolation of DNA. We need a genotype of a case horse in order to run our own genotyping assay.

Can I use an adopted horse for this study?

Can I use an adopted horse for this study?

Please feel free to include your adopted horse(s) with suspected muscle disease, and one without suspected muscle disease of similar age and breed on the same property, in this study.

Does your lab accept donated horses for this study?

Does your lab accept donated horses for this study?

No. We do not currently have the capacity to accept horses donated to our laboratory at the University. We will gladly accept samples and survey information from case/control horses.

I have a horse with shivers, muscular dystrophy, etc. Do I qualify to participate in this study?

I have a horse with shivers, muscular dystrophy, etc. Do I qualify to participate in this study?

Yes. Please feel free to include your horse with suspected muscle disease in this study along with an undiagnosed horse of similar age and breed on the same property. At this time, we do not understand the cause of Shivers, but it is likely that it is not solely due to muscle dysfunction. So, while we will accept information from these horses, they may not be included in our final analysis, and we are not specifically recruiting for Shivers cases.

Can I participate if I live (or my horse lives) outside the USA?

Can I participate if I live (or my horse lives) outside the USA?

Yes, please follow all instructions outlined on our participation requirements page and see instructions for shipping samples internationally.

Do my horses need to live on my property to contribute to this study?

Do my horses need to live on my property to contribute to this study?

No. We only ask that the horses are housed on the same property, but they do not have to be on your property to participate.

I have horses of the same breed, but they are different ages. Can I still participate?

I have horses of the same breed, but they are different ages. Can I still participate?

Yes. Ideally, we ask participants to have horses of similar age, but we will accept horses with an age difference as well.

I have a case and control horse, but they are different breeds. Can I still participate?

I have a case and control horse, but they are different breeds. Can I still participate?

Yes. You can still provide information for them in our study. While we prefer horses of similar age and breed for this study, you can contribute to the study even if that option is not available to you.

My horse tested positive for a muscle disease, but does not show signs of the disease. Can I still include them in this study?

My horse tested positive for a muscle disease, but does not show signs of the disease. Can I still include them in this study?

Yes. Our aim is to understand various muscle diseases in horses and how different factors affect their expression. Symptomatic or asymptomatic, any owner with a horse diagnosed (or suspected) with muscle disease (and a control without muscle disease) is highly encouraged to participate in this study.

I suspect my potential case horse has symptoms related to muscle disease, but has not been diagnosed. Can I still participate?

I suspect my potential case horse has symptoms related to muscle disease, but has not been diagnosed. Can I still participate?

Yes. You may fill out a survey for this horse and a horse without suspected muscle disease. If you have more specific questions regarding this issue, you can email us at eggl-muscledis@umn.edu.

I’ve finished the survey. Is there anything else I need to do?

I’ve finished the survey. Is there anything else I need to do?

Yes. Please visit our participation requirements and instructions pages for what we need from you after you’ve completed the survey. For more specific questions, email us at eggl-muscledis@umn.edu.

Will I get to know my horses' results at the end of the study?

Will I get to know my horses' results at the end of the study?

Yes. However, please do not rely on this to receive an immediate response of your horses’ genotype. We will provide results for your horses and detailed information at the completion of the study.

What’s the cost to me as a participant?

What’s the cost to me as a participant?

You will need to cover the cost of shipment of your samples to our lab and the veterinary fees for blood collection, if you choose to send a blood sample instead of hair roots for genotyping. Additionally, while we do not cover the costs of supplemental testing (i.e. blood work/genotyping outside of the study), we do not require you to have these tests done in order to participate.