Sunday, 26 October 2014

HWSD testing Statistics

The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) from UC Davis which is conducting all of the HWSD testing worldwide, has provided the Connemara Pony Research Group with a report on the numbers of ponies that have been tested for the HWSD mutation to date.

The reason for doing this is to help the CPRG to continue to help educate and disseminate up-to-date information to breeders.

The information from VGL is raw data only.  As with any statistics it is the analysis performed on the numbers which begins to paint the bigger picture.

The first message to understand is how the numbers are initially collected and how the table is constructed.    Also it must be noted that the ponies being sampled and tested are not 'random' samples which skews the results.
VGL states the following:
 "Attached are the summary stats by country of HWSD tests since we started offering the test at the end of August 2014. Percentage of carriers and affected were calculated only if more than 10 horses were tested per country. The carrier frequency in the VGL’s data is coming out higher than the value found in Dr. Bannasch’s research. However, keep in mind that we are using raw data from testing, which includes related individuals. Our estimates are not based on a random sample of unrelated horses and obviously overestimate the frequency of carriers and affected. With time, you’ll notice that the values will settle around the actual frequencies."

The full table from VGL is listed at the end of this page.  
This raw data  has to be adjusted and analysed in order to gain a truer picture of the situation in each country. 
VGL does not have any background information on the make up of individual populations of ponies in various parts of the world.  Country of residence does not always equate to country of origin. Using a combination of information of country of origin combined with country of residence a different picture emerges.

For example:

New Zealand is listed as having tested 21 ponies with 16 N/N and 5 N/HWSD.  However what is not obvious from the table below is that all five of the N/HWSD ponies are ponies imported from Australia. However another seven N/N ponies listed under NZ are also recent Australia imports. Another mare was imported to NZ from the UK; bred in Ireland by a French stallion, her imported in-utero colt is also in the NZ tested list.

Thus if the numbers are adjusted to acknowledge this, then the Australian/New Zealand  figures will look like this:

                            N/N    N/HWSD   HWSD/HWSD   Grand total    %age Carriers
Australia                  69           14                  1                          84                 17.9%
New Zealand          4             0                  0                            4                    0%

Similarly Australia has an N/N  colt  and an N/N filly listed which are both bred in Germany (these have been extracted from the numbers in the table above).

Canada lists four non Canadian bred stallions: one N/N from Germany, one N/N from USA, one N/N from Ireland and one N/HWSD from Ireland.

France has one N/N stallion from Great Britain.

Germany has one N/N stallion from Sweden, one N/N stallion from Ireland.

Six stallions bred and resident in Northern Ireland are listed under Great Britain.

New Zealand has listed one N/N colt of  German, Irish and French breeding but bred by a UK breeder.

USA has three Irish imports listed.

This breakdown is to demonstrate just how closely interlinked individual populations of  Connemara ponies are, across the world.  This becomes even more apparent when considering mares and fillies.

Looking purely at the country statistics from what is known from the results sent to  CPRG for positing on the HWSD tested ponies results page distribution of  ponies outside their listed country:

Australia and New Zealand tabled above.

Canada - stallions 3 imports as mentioned  above.  Mares 4/11 imported: 3 Great Britain, 1 Ireland

Switzerland - no notifications made to CPRG

Germany - 2/12 stallions as above; mares 0/11 imported

Denmark - stallions 0/6; mares 0/15 imported

France - both ponies are British bred, French residents.

Great Britain - one N/HWSD stallion from Ireland and one N/N bred in GB + the six stallions from Northern Ireland plus three mares also.
Thus GB when adjusted ONLY for the Northern Ireland situation, would look like: 53 - 9 from Northern Ireland + 2 from France = 46

          N/N     N/HWSD   N/HWSD  Total  %age Carrier
GB      40             5                  1         46              13.0%

Ireland:    8/10 of the ponies on the VGL table come from two owner/breeders.  These are on the CPRG page.  3/8 recorded are mares.  1/3 mares is N/HWSD; 1/5 stallions is N/HWSD.

Sweden: 25 ponies are on the blog list of which five are N/HWSD or HWSD/HWSD.  Even with the restricted numbers of notifications made to CPRG the %age carrier rate is still 20%.  

USA has the highest number of tested ponies to date.  Of those listed on the CPRG list, 19 are mares, 7 of which are direct imports (4 ex Ireland) or born to imported ponies in the USA (3).  3/19 mares are N/HWSD and 0/19 HWSD/HWSD.   Stallions 3/11 are imported.  1/11 is N/HWSD

Conclusion:  The uptake of the HWSD test by Irish owners and breeders based purely on population levels of the Connemara pony in each country, is very worrying.  The assumption is that this poor response is due to a very low awareness of the HWSD issue among the wider population.  The same situation is assumed for France and Great Britain.

France, which is the second largest producer of Connemara ponies in the world demonstrates an even lower uptake than Ireland - as the two ponies tested and listed are of  British breeding.

Great Britain is the third largest producer of Connemara ponies in the world; it too has significantly low uptake of the HWSD test.

Indeed Australia and the USA each have both tested more ponies than Ireland, France and Great Britain COMBINED!

For the most part the people who read this blog are already the more educated about HWSD among the breeders of Connemara ponies worldwide.  What each and everyone of you should consider doing, is to spread the message to those less well aware of the HWSD problem - and the solution afforded to breeders - by the availability of the  VGL test.

HWSD DNA Testing Statistics -September/October 2014

Country N/N N/HWSD HWSD/HWSD Grand Total % of Carriers % of Affected
Australia 64 9 1 74 12.2 1.4
Canada 15 6 1 22 27.3 4.5
Switzerland 3


Germany 25 7 0 32 21.9 0.0
Denmark 25 18 0 43 41.9 0.0
France 2


Great Britain 45 7 1 53 13.2 1.9
Ireland 10 2 1 13 15.4 7.7
The Netherlands

New Zealand 16 5
21 23.8 0.0
Sweden 27 9 2 38 23.7 5.3
United States 77 18 3 98 18.4 3.1
Grand Total 309 82 9 400 20.5 2.25

Test Result Disease Status

N/N Normal

N/HWSD Carrier

HWSD/HWSD Affected

Friday, 24 October 2014

Rosewood Witchcraft receives posthumous award from the American Connemara Pony Society

At the recent Annual General Meeting of the American Connemara Pony Society  Rosewood Witchcraft was awarded the "The purebred Connemara of the Year Award".
The citation reads as follows:
"The purebred Connemara of the Year Award went to Rosewood Witchcraft (ArdCeltic Art X Balmullo’s Rhiannon) for her contributions to solving the puzzle of HWSD, a genetic hoof wall disease.  “Crafty” was the poster child of HWSD and was, additionally, the first case of HWSD seen by the geneticists at UCDavis, the institution that eventually solved the puzzle and now provides a test for carriers of the disease.  Crafty contributed to not only the science, but also to the publicity and the fundraising.  Sadly, though, because of the disease, she had to be put down before her third birthday. " Link to American Connemara Pony Society website

On the HWSS Facebook page, Crafty's owner and breeder Darian Hall, wrote the following:
"At this years annual ACPS Awards Banquet Rosewood Witchcraft (Crafty) was named ACPS Pony of the Year. It was bitter sweet as Crafty did not survive the condition. She became a poster child only because we went so public with her. However there were so many of you who put your effort, your time and money into this and so many of you who suffered to watch your ponies fall apart without the answer and you tried as hard as I did to find the answer. AND WE DID.
So Crafty's award belongs to all of you for your effort and dedication that has brought us this wonderful test. Crafty was born at the right time, in the right place and to someone who was not going to shut-up (me). But without all of you I would still be fishing in the dark.
Thank you so much CPRG."

On Sunday 29 September 2013, this blog paid tribute to Crafty on a page titled Vale for Crafty

The poster which Darian wrote for the Clifden meeting about Crafty can be seen here

By honouring Crafty in this way the ACPS once again demonstrates the pro-active stance which the Society adopted very early on in the research process.  It is not widely known that the ACPS early in the fundraising process made a substantive monetary donation towards funding the research at UC Davis.

In response to requests, a French translation is now available for both formats of the information pamphlet.



Listed again are the links for the pamphlets:

HWSD Test Results page

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Blog hits reach 40,000 and other really important things.

Hits on the blog have now passed 40,000.

Below is the all time hits tally from the countries which made the Top Ten:

United States
United Kingdom
New Zealand

There is no facility on the blog site to retrieve all of the figures from all of the countries from where the traffic has originated, which is a pity.  From looking at the monthly totals the majority of the hits from Ireland and the UK have been over the past three months.

The CPRG has put together an updated version of the pamphlet which was written to be handed out at the Clifden meeting.  The links to the pamphlet are listed below.  You can download and print out the pamphlet yourself or pass the links and/or the download onto other people to share on any relevant websites.  
There are two formats containing the same information:

The HWSD-Information-Pamphlet-3-fold-brochure-version is designed so that when printed back to back it is a brochure which folds into 3 panels.

The Information-pamphlet-on-Hoof-Wall-Separation-Disease-Portrait-page-format prints onto A4 as a straight two page document.