Texas company clones famous rodeo horse

Prometea grazing with her "dame", the first cloned horses.

By Matthew Kinchla, ABC News Channel 7 ( June 10th 2020) — AMARILLO, Texas (KVII) — There is no question, the bond between human and animal is special. However, humans typically outlive their favorite pet, their best animal worker, or even their best racer. One Texas organization is making it possible through cloning, to keep that relationship going.

Viagen Pets out of Cedar Park has been cloning animals since January 2002. They’re known for cloning horses, livestock, and even pets.


“Science has come a long way since ‘Dolly the Sheep’.”

VIAGEN


“The common bond between all of our clients that are cloning their pets, or horse even, is this unique relationship that they have had with that animal and if you have never had that relationship with a dog or a cat or a horse then you may not understand why you would do this,” Viagen Client Service Manager Melain Rodriguez said. “I know me myself, I have had lots of animals over the years and there is always that one.”

Rodriguez added from the client’s perspective, it’s very easy. All you have to do is take your dog to the vet.


How do you clone a horse? Cells are taken from the donor animal. In the case of a horse, typically from a ear or the chest and implanted in an unfertilised egg, which has had its own DNA removed. An electric pulse causes the two to fuse together and also starts cell division.

HORSE AND HOUND


“It is a very simple biopsy procedure that any veterinarian can do and then those tissue samples will come back to our lab and we will grow and culture millions of cells from these tissues and each of these cells contains the complete DNA for that animal,” Rodriguez said.

Then they can simply freeze the cells and keep them stored for years to come.

One animal that recently was successfully cloned was a famous rodeo calf roping horse named Topper.

“Those cells were preserved years ago when that animal died and so this is an example of an animal that essentially sort of comes back in a new form,” said Rodriguez. “The same DNA from Topper is in this newborn foal. Now, he is going to have to have the same training that the original Topper did but a lot of that performance and drive is genetically linked.”

The cloning process varies upon species. The initial step of preserving the cell line costs $1,600. It costs $150 a year to store the cells, and that number is taken out of the total cost.

The cloning for a horse is $85,000. It costs $50,000 for a dog and $35,000 for a cat. Read more »

Though cloning is allowed within most horse breed registries, it’s banned for racing thoroughbreds and quarter horses. Even so, thoroughbreds and quarter horses are regularly cloned and participate in disciplines such as dressage, polo and rodeo.

The horse is the seventh species to be cloned.


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FEATURED IMAGE

Prometea, first cloned horse. © Boehringer Friedrich Information (extracted from IPTC Photo Metadata).

BACKGROUND

The birth of the world’s first cloned horse was announced in 2003. The healthy female Haflinger foal – named Prometea – was born to her genetically identical surrogate mother on 28 May 2003 in Italy. The breakthrough followed the cloning of a mule earlier in 2003. New Scientist »

By chance, the same mare that donated the cells ended up serving as the only surrogate mother out of nine mares who went to term. In effect, the mare gave birth to her identical twin. Chicago Tribune »

Prometea is 11 years old (according to a 2014 article), Clones: Where are they now?” »

RESOURCES

Cedar Park company ViaGen cloning favorite pets »

• How do you clone a horse?, Horse and Hound »

TUESDAY’S HORSE

Previous posts on cloned horses »

MORE READING

Cloned Horses Have Quietly Become a Thing. Should They Be Allowed to Compete?“, ROBB REPORT, by Nina Fedrizzi, Dec. 17, 2019

Battle of the clones: when will a replica horse win Olympic gold?“, CNN, Feb. 20, 2015 »

Cloned horses can now compete in the Olympics, SLATE Magazine, by Will Oremus, Jul. 6, 2012

Resources updated Jun. 15, 2020 6:40 pm

Texas horses confirmed with Equine Infectious Anemia

Syringe. Horse. Image by Anne Eberhard.

The two affected Quarter Horses have been euthanized.

THE HORSE magazine (thehorse.com) reports:

Officials at the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) confirmed two Quarter Horses in Harris County with equine infectious anemia (EIA) on March 26. The premises has been quarantined until TAHC’s requirements are met, and the owner and local veterinarian are working closely with TAHC staff to implement biosecurity measures and monitor horses that were potentially exposed. The affected horses have been euthanized.

Equine infectious anemia is a viral disease that attacks horses’ immune systems. The virus is transmitted through the exchange of body fluids from an infected to an uninfected animal, often by blood-feeding insects such as horseflies. It can also be transmitted through the use of blood-contaminated instruments or needles.

Coggins test screens horses’ blood for antibodies that are indicative of the presence of the EIA virus. Most U.S. states require horses to have proof of a negative Coggins test to travel across state lines.

Once an animal is infected with EIA, he is infected for life and can be a reservoir for the spread of disease. Not all horses show signs of disease, but those that do can exhibit:

  • Progressive condition loss;
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Poor stamina;
  • Fever;
  • Depression; and
  • Anemia.

EIA has no vaccine and no cure. A horse diagnosed with the disease dies, is euthanized, or must be placed under extremely strict quarantine conditions (at least 200 yards away from unaffected equids) for the rest of his life.


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Two Quarter Horses die at Louisiana Downs

Quarter Horse standing in pasture. iStock photo.

We do not post much about Quarter Horse racing fatalities. Shame on us for not doing so.

“Lrh Fast as Oak” and “Perry Train”

According to Equibase, two “fell and were euthanzied” on opening day of Louisiana Downs’ Quarter Horse race meeting.

Their names were “Lrh Fast as Oak” and “Perry Train”. They were only two years old.

About Quarter Horse racing

Quarter Horse racing competes horses at great speed for short distances on a straightaway course, originally a quarter of a mile, hence the name. Quarter Horse racing was begun by the early settlers in Virginia shortly after Jamestown was established in 1607.

Long recognized as a distinct type, Quarter Horses are known for their ability to start quickly and sprint swiftly, producing close contests with many photo finishes. The breed originated in Virginia from a Thoroughbred stallion, Janus, and native mares.

There are currently more than 5 million registered Quarter Horses.

Horse rescue event this weekend in Mechanicsville

Meet and greet horses up for adoption at this weekend's 2 day AppyFest in Mechanicsville, Maryland.
Meet and greet horses up for adoption at this weekend’s 2 day AppyFest in Mechanicsville, Maryland.

MECHANICSVILLE, Maryland (Oct. 5, 2018) — This weekend, Last Chance Animal Rescue and the Maryland Fund for Horses will host “Appy Fest,” a two-day family friendly festival (Oct 6 and 7) celebrating the rehabilitation and training of some of the 100 plus starving, feral Appaloosa/Quarter horses seized from a farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore (read their story at DelMarvaNow.com).

Appy Fest 2018 is an innovative way to find new homes for horses from large scale cruelty seizures, as well as showcase the horses and their training.

Horses are available for meet and greets as well as adoptions at the event, according to a release from Last Chance. Appy Fest 2018 also includes a trainers’ competition, horse adoptions, equine demonstrations, shopping, food, face-painting and pony rides.

In March 2018, more than 100 starved feral horses were seized from a farm in Wicomico County. The horses were placed with rescues throughout the Mid-Atlantic area, and since then their recovery has been nothing short of miraculous. Most of the horses have received professional training, preparing them for new adoptive homes.

The next stage of their transformation is finding loving, permanent homes. There are several mares who have had foals who are also available for the public to meet and see their training.

The two day event will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m on Saturday, Oct. 6., and Sunday, Oct. 7, at Last Chance Animal Rescue’s Eldorado Farm, located at 29844 Eldorado Farm Lane in Mechanicsville (click here for map). Adult admission is $7.50 for both days or $5 for one day. Admission is free for children younger than 10 years as well as seniors and veterans. To purchase tickets, fill out a horse adoption application or to get more info: http://bit.ly/APPYFEST.

Note: On the bottom righthand corner of their APPYFEST page, they have a list of hotels offering discount APPYFEST attendee rates. Mention APPY FEST when making your reservations.

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