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barrel_dreamer

"lethal white"

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see i know that OWLS means that a horse will be lethal white. well what is so bad about being white? why would the horse die from being white? howcome some horses who are white arent consider lethal white? sorry for all the questions! any help would greatly apreciated!

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Lethal Whites are born not being able to digest food (ahhgg...something like that!) and they die not long after birth. There are no survivors, contrary to rumors. Breed to frame overo horses and you have a 25% chance of getting a Lethal White.

"White" horses are usually maximally expressed sabino paints. That is, a paint horse who is just one big ol' white marking.

HTTY & GBTUSA

BUMPER

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It's not the color per se...

What happens is the baby is born with an incomplete digestive system, and he appears normal and healthy at birth...even stands up, runs around, nurses from mom, naps... but eventually he can't poop.

There is no cure, so they are usually euthanized. However... more and more people suggest to WAIT before euthanizing them as many foals that are thought to be lethal white turn out to be perfectly fine and can poop. It used to be... white... euthanized. But, some of these babies have pooped and went on to lead normal, healthy lives.

Maybe a gene expert can get on here and answer your question better than me... but in the meantime, here is a link to help you out: Lethal White

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There is a genetic test for lethal white. If your horse is positive (for one copy of the gene), and you breed it to another posititive horse, you have a 25% chance of getting a lethal foal, a 50% chance of getting a positive foal, and a 25% chance of getting a negative foal.

Lethal white foal have two copies of the lethal gene, and will die within 48 hours of birth.

If your horse tests positive and you breed it to a negative horse, then you have a 50% chance of having a positive foal and a 50% chance of having a negative foal.

A seemingly solid horse CAN have the lethal white gene. There have been reports of two registered quarter horses producing a lethal foal. It's rare, but not unheard of. That is why it is important to test your horses if you plan on breeding your stock horse (paint, QH, Appy, or grade).

ETA: You can get an all white foal that is really a max Sabino or Tovero. As someone suggested, it's best to wait to see if the foal will pass manure before euthanizing it. Lethal white causes the intestines to not work properly.

~Barbara

[ 02-15-2007, 09:16 PM: Message edited by: luvs2ride79 ]

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thank you so much everyone! i understand completely now! but i got another question, sorry! howcome when its digestion system doesnt work the horse is white? couldnt it just be born any color and still not work?

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The white is the physical expression of the gene. Just like an albino rabbit will have white hair and pink eyes, a horse born w/OWLS will be white.

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yes, the white is just the physical expresssion of this lethal gene. I actually know one of our riders that bred to a stallion and had a lethal white foal. The gene is carried in frame overos and I believe both the stallion and mare had the gene. However, I don't think that all frame overos have the gene, just some. You can be tested for it.

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