Attorney Rachel McCart of Equine Legal Solutions, a law firm in Oregon, is a blogger colleague who often has thought-provoking advice on her blog. Today she posts about the legal aspects of disclosure of a Quarter horse's test status for Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis, commonly called just HYPP. The disease should also be a concern to anyone buying or breeding Paints, Palominos, and Appaloosas, as well as Quarter horses.
HYPP may not be in the news every day anymore, but it is still a concern, and should be. The Quarter horse world has quieted the hysteria that developed when the disease was first discovered in certain Quarter horse bloodlines about fifteen years ago and the veterinary world assisted with reliable tests, dietary recommendations and genetic detective work.
Looking at today's horse economy, we hear a lot about two new aspects that weren't around even five years ago: 1) the decrease in value and, hence, sales prices of Quarter horses and 2) the burgeoning market in Internet sales of horses. At first, I didn't believe it, but people here in New England actually buy horses without seeing them and have them shipped here, usually from the western states. Some fly west to try (and see) the horses in person, but others do not.
Rachel McCart's post offers solid information on what is the responsibility of the buyer and what is the responsibility of the seller in HYPP disclosure. If you want to buy or sell a horse and stay out of the lawyer's office, her blog post is worth a read, although laws may vary in some states.
You're not just buying a horse, you're buying his or her DNA, too. With the glut of horses on the market, you should be able to find a seller who has tested a horse and is willing to disclose the results. Always discuss those results and other pre-purchase findings with your own veterinarians.
HYPP disclosure is probably comparable to Lyme's disease testing around here. If the flow of horses was reversed, and people here had to disclose a horse's Lyme's test, they would probably resist, since so many horses test positive but have no symptoms. I wonder what the courts say about that.