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Myths and Facts about HYPP


Myth: "I have to have an HyPP positive horse to compete in halter."
Fact: There a very large number of horses past and present who have done very well in the showring without having this disease. Many are Impressive-bred N/N horses, as well as horses who carry no Impressive blood at all and cannot carry this disease.

Myth: HyPP can be found in other lines of Quarter Horses, as well as Impressive.
Fact: A random test was done on 1000 horses, Quarter and Thoroughbred, of different lineages and research has traced the HyPP marker back to the Impressive line only. The test is not designed to find Impressive DNA, it is designed to find the HyPP marker.

Myth: HyPP is contagious.
Fact: HyPP is not like a cold, it is a hereditary disease caused by a mutated gene. It can only be passed on by breeding a horse who carries HyPP.

Myth: You can tell a positive horse by looking at it.
Fact: HyPP is a disease that can only be proven through genetic testing. HyPP does not increase muscle mass, but constant electrical firing in the muscles gives the muscles a highly defined cut that horses without HyPP have to be worked through exercise to obtain. The only outward signs of HyPP are seen during an attack episode. A horse who is not having an episode, will look like any normal horse.

Myth: HyPP can eventually be bred out by breeding N/H horses to N/N horses.
Fact: N/H horses are going to pass on the gene to an average of 50% of their offspring. As long as that 50% are being produced and bred, they will continue this disease.

Myth: HyPP does not affect anyone but those who want to breed for it.
Fact: HyPP at this time does not have to be tested for mandatorily. There are many people who now own positive horses because they did not know what it was nor that their horse had it at the time it was purchased. Many other positive horses were sold without papers on the grade market to ususpecting buyers to be used as riding horses and 4-H projects. HyPP has been spread throughout a very large portion of the horse industry by outcrossing to other breeds.

Myth: "I have the right to breed positive horses if I so choose. It's no one else's business."
Fact: It is the business of other people who end up with the genetically defective horses you are breeding and selling. You are knowingly putting horses on the market that have a hereditary genetic disease that can and do die from it. It is a disease that can be tested for and eliminated. It has always been encouraged by the research centers and registry associations to use the test to choose breeding stock who do not carry the disease in order to eliminate HyPP.

Myth: Most positive horses never have or show symptoms.
Fact: While it is true that a lot of horses with HyPP don't show outward symptoms, there are many who are mildly afflicted to very symptomatic. Some many never show a symptom, and then drop dead of their first and only episode.

Myth: All HyPP horses can be managed through diet and medication.
Fact: Many HyPP horse can remain symptomatic while on veterinary/research-recommended diets and on as many as 12 acetazolymide pills per day. H/H horses tend to have a very short life span due to being more symptomatic and harder to care for.

Myth: If a positive horse has not shown symptoms by the time they are 3 or 4 years of age, it will never have symptoms.
Fact: A horse who is positive for HyPP can show symptoms at any time from the day they are born. Some have been known to not show symptoms until their teen years.

Myth: If Impressive breeding is back 3 or more generations, it will dilute the gene, and lessen the likelihood of passing on HyPP.
Fact: HyPP is a dominant gene. If the gene is carried it will be just as dominant in the present generations as in the earlier generations.

Myth: Horses who test negative for HyPP can still have the disease, it is just more rare than in positive horses.
Fact: There are 3 statuses of horses tested for HyPP: H/H- the horse carries 2 copies of the gene and will pass it to its offspring 100% of the time. N/H- the horse carries 1 copies of the gene and will pass it to its offspring approximately 50% of the time. N/N- the horse carries NO copies of the gene therefore it does not have the disease and can not pass it on to future generations.

Myth: "I don't own Impressive horses, so HyPP doesn't affect me."
Fact: Directly it may not, but indirectly, a friend or family member of yours may be one of those who ends up with one unknowingly and may end up hurt, paralyzed or possibly killed. THEN it will affect you. It also affects you indirectly by impeding the health of the horses in this industry.

Myth: Positive horses can be used as riding mounts for anyone.
Fact: Positive horses should only be ridden by those who are accomplished riders and are aware of what HyPP is and know the signs of impending episode. HyPP episodes of paralysis can come on very suddenly, and can trap a novice rider or child under when the paralysis causes the horse to lose control of its body. Even an accomplished rider can be hurt if they don't kick themselves free of the horse quickly enough.

Myth: "I am only one person and there is nothing I can do to stop the breeding of HyPP."
Fact: Every voice who speaks out to whatever registry they are affiliated with, adds to the number of other voices speaking out on eliminating this disease. Each voice added helps our numbers to grow towards elimination of HyPP.

Myth: Any horse with Three Bars in the pedigree is at risk for HyPP.
Fact: Research has determined that HyPP is the result of a mutated gene that originated with the Quarter Horse stallion Impressive. Other Three Bars families are not involved.

Myth: HyPP can skip generations.
Fact: No, HyPP can not skip generations. For a horse to have HyPP either the sire or the dam, or both, have to carry HyPP.

Myth: HyPP only affects Quarter Horses.
Fact: HyPP affects horses tracing back to the Quarter Horse stallion Impressive. Any horse, no matter what breed, that crosses back to Impressive can be affected. 

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