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  • Etalon Admin

DSLD Samples Needed

Updated: Feb 17, 2022

Exciting news - EtalonDx is expanding a large genetic study for Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Desmitis (DSLD) in the horse, and we need your help! Samples are needed from horses diagnosed with DSLD.

Requirements to participate:

REQUIREMENTS: Veterinary diagnostic/records/report, x-rays, ultrasound, and/or photos documenting all four limbs in affected horses along with a complete profile image of the overall horse (to compare angles, legs, posture, etc.)

DEMOGRAPHIC DATA: Breed, height, gender, discipline, parentage (pedigree)

ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTATION: Post-mortem analysis, video of the horse in a lameness exam if possible (many may be too crippled to make a video)

SUBMISSION PROCESS: Sample submissions may be made via the portal. Please create an account (free), add horses and photos/videos, click "Order Test", and choose the "Study_DSLD" package and complete the "purchase" (again, there is no charge). Sample submission forms for each horse will be provided immediately which you may print and include with your sample shipment. The best sample/specimen is a hearty pulled tail sample (includes roots from which the DNA is extracted) although you are welcome to send blood, fresh or frozen tissue as well (no formalin/fixed samples please).

What is DSLD?

Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Desmitis (DSLD) is a disease that affects the connective tissue of the lower limbs in many horses. We are honing in on Sporthorses such as Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods for this particular study. Horses with DSLD usually present with a history of lameness, heat or swelling in the fetlocks, enlarged fetlocks, and gradual dropping of the fetlocks towards the ground.

Additional signs of DSLD include:

  • Pasterns may appear horizontal during weight-bearing (see image)

  • Pain on palpation of suspensory ligament and/or flexor tendons

  • Varying degrees of lameness

  • Stumbling and tripping

  • Digging holes and standing with toes pointing toward hole

  • Hindlimb conformation may change to post-legged stance

  • Change in gait such as weight shifting, landing toe first, or stiff robot-like movement

  • Lying down frequently and not wanting to rise (sometimes misinterpreted as colic)

  • Instability in gait or when standing that can be misdiagnosed as neurologic disease

Because the onset of this disease can be subtle, it is critical that all samples sent into Etalon's lab are from horses with a veterinarian's diagnosis for DSLD.

To submit samples, visit and click “order”. Create an online profile and click “Order Testing”.

Choose package “STUDY_DSLD” to send in your sample free of charge. Those whose samples are included in the study will receive follow-up information for results and publications.

Mail hair samples to:

405 El Camino Real, #234 Menlo Park, CA 94025

Please know how much we appreciate your participation in genetic research as we try to decode the various equine diseases including DSLD. With your help, together we can continue to improve the lives of our horses and the equestrian community as a whole.

Warm Regards,

Team Etalon (650) 380-2995

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