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Hoof Wall Separation Disease (HWSD)

Connemara Pony Hoof Wall Separation Disease


Researchers in the Bannasch Laboratory have identified the genetic basis of Connemara Hoof Wall Separation Disease. Hoof Wall Separation Disease (HWSD) is characterized by a hoof wall that easily breaks and cracks, and a normal appearing coronary band. The breaks and cracks begin to occur in young ponies. In severe cases the pony bears weight entirely on the sole of the foot which can lead to severe lameness. HWSD is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. This means that carriers are completely normal and only animals with two copies of the mutation will show clinical signs of the disease. HWSD appears to occur only in the Connemara pony and the carrier frequency has been estimated to be about 14.8%. A DNA test for this specific mutation can determine if ponies are normal or if they carry one or two copies of the mutation. Ponies that carry two copies of the mutation are highly likely to be affected with the disease. Some cases are milder while others are more severe. We have identified at least one case where the pony does not appear to have clinical signs associated with having two copies of the mutation. This indicates that the mutation is not fully penetrant; however it has very high penetrance of 96.8%.tes


Weatherbys Ireland :

Please apply to the BCPS secretary, Mrs G Tillin, 24 Mount Pleasant Road, Alton, Hampshire GU3 1NN who will send a tamper-proof sample bag to the owner, who should then ask their vet to:

  • Identify the pony by microchip (or insert one, if not present) and confirm that the passport corresponds to the pony concerned, using the markings/ description if no microchip is present.
  • Complete the information requested on the sample bag, insert the sample and seal the bag.

The sample should then be sent to the Society Secretary, with a cheque for £30 to cover the cost of the test and recorded delivery postage to Weatherbys.

The result will be sent to the Society Office for filing, with a copy sent to the owner. Results are confidential and will NOT be published without the owner’s consent.

UC Davies, USA

Full details of the UC Davies protocol for testing, with the current cost are available via the following website:

Animal Genetics Incorporated

1 Mount Charles Road, St Austell, Cornwall. PL25 3LB.

Tel. 01726 –247788  Cost on application

If using Animal Genetics or UC Davies please advise the BCPS office by sending a copy of the results certificate. Please note that for the result to be stamped in the passport, a vet must take the hair sample and complete the Private Test Form.

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