Last Updated: 2018-09-19
Lethal white syndrome (LWS), also called overo lethal white syndrome (OLWS), lethal white overo (LWO), and overo lethal white foal syndrome (OLWFS), is an autosomal genetic disorder most prevalent in the American Paint Horse. Affected foals are born after the full 11-month gestation and externally appear normal, though they have all-white or nearly all-white coats and blue eyes. However, internally, these foals have a nonfunctioning colon. Within a few hours, signs of colic appear; affected foals die within a few days. Because the death is often painful, such foals are often humanely euthanized once identified. The disease is particularly devastating because foals are born seemingly healthy after being carried to full term.
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