UK Home (Global Connections) College of Agriculture
Veterinary Science Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome Index Page
Back to State Vet Info Page


Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome

Following is a statement sent to State Veterinarians May 25, 2001
TO:  State Veterinarians

DATE:  May 25, 2001

SUBJECT:  Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome - Update

Dr. Don Notter, Kentucky State Veterinarian, has asked that I provide to you the latest information regarding the Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS) occurring in Kentucky's equine population.  The following was provided at last night's meeting concerning the investigation.  You can find links to the most current information regarding the investigation at  Also, the video from last night's meeting can be viewed over the web at  Dr. David Powell, Coordinator of the Investigative Team, provides a situation summary.  You can go directly to Dr. Powell's  summary on the video at 1:01 minute.  I have found that an article published by The Blood-Horse magazine has an excellent summary of last night's meeting.  In addition, there is an area listing several of the questions and answers that were discussed.  You can find this information at

Dr. Lenn Harrison, director of the Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center in Lexington, reported that there were no additional aborted/stillborn equine fetuses/foals submitted on May 24. The total submissions of aborted/stillborn fetuses/foals since April 28, 2001, is 532.  As of last night, a total of 9,484 test/assays and procedures had been done of the fetuses and foals (less than 7 days of age).  All tests are negative for viral diseases.  Information available continues to support that this is not a contagious disease.

While the investigation continues, the hypothesis believed to be most credible is the one addressed earlier this week.  Test results received yesterday, coupled with observations and other information from the epidemiology, continues to implicate cyanide or cyanogenic compounds as the causal agent of Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome.  In addition, other working hypotheses are not confirmed by, or are inconsistent with, recent observations and analyses.

Dr. Jimmy Henning, Extension Professor, UK College of Agriculture, stated that it is unlikely that pasture mycotoxins were involved in the MRLS.  Dr. Henning's conclusion is based on HPLC results received from Trilogy Laboratory in Missouri. Dr. Henning advised that testing is ongoing to fully test the early samples that had tested positive for the Fusarium mycotoxins using the ELISA based assays.  It should be mentioned as well that Dr. Henning advised that no Kentucky hay sample (all baled before the rains on May 6) tested positive for the Fusarium mycotoxins.

We will continue to keep you apprised as any new information becomes available.

E.S. Rusty Ford
Equine Programs Manager

Veterinary Science Home Page
UK Equine Research Foundation Home Page
College of Agriculture Home Page
UK Home Page