Last Updated on March 18, 2022 by Allison Price
This is a genetic disorder that has been seen in AkhalTeke horses for over 75 years. Akhal-Tekes are known for their speed, endurance and unique metallic color with sheen. It has been dubbed one of the most beautiful horse breeds on the planet.
Naked Foal Syndrome, a monogenic autosomal recessive trait, is very common. The Central Asia breed continues its growth in hairless foals.
NFS horses are born with hairless, dry, scaly skin. They often die within days to months of their birth. Although some foals born hairless have survived for longer than two years, it is unknown why.
A team of international researchers used the genome sequencing of two affected horses and two carriers to determine their findings. They also used 75 control horses of other breeds as a basis for their findings.
Researchers identified the ST14:c.388G>T null variant as the most probable genetic defect. The scientists stated that genetic testing is the best method to prevent foals from being born with this condition when they published their findings in .
They described the clinical and pathological phenotypes of two AkhalTeke horses with NFS. The study’s revision involved a male cremello foal, who was 2 years and 10 months old at the time. He was still alive at the time. The colt was smaller than nonaffected horses the same age. The horse is now bald and has very few body hairs.
The hairs on the tail and mane are either sparsely or absent. The whiskers are present, but they are sparse, curly and short. The horse’s eyelashes have been missing.Additional photos and descriptions of the Naked Foal Syndrome filly are available below.
Some body parts were dry and scaly. According to the owner, there was a persistent increase in tears flow. The lack of physical protection from a normal hair-coat may have caused multifocal scarring and erosive lesion formation. Researchers didn’t find any abnormalities in the hooves or teeth.
In June 2016, the second horse was born.
Due to a “spontaneous” leg fracture, the vets had to kill the filly after 21 days. The filly’s skin and hair pattern closely matched that of the first horse. It also had normal teeth, and hooves.
A necropsy showed mild internal hydrocephalus (or fluid in the brain), a heart defect and severely altered lymphoid tissues. Histological findings in lymphoid organs indicated a defect in primary immuno organ development and specific immune response.
Researchers examine the ST14 gene. It plays an essential role in the interfollicular epidermis, contributing to the formation of epidermal barriers and hair follicle growth.
Researchers aren’t sure why NFS-affected foals have such a limited, but varied life expectancy. Researchers believe they must study more horses affected by NFS in order to identify the causes of premature death.