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Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome

Research Status Report and Executive Summary

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
M. Scott Smith
Dean and Director
September 14, 2001

This document summarizes a survey of 133 equine farm operations in Central Kentucky conducted by the University of Kentucky Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center and USDA veterinarians during the summer of 2001. The two-part survey examined farm and pasture management issues as well as individual mare reproductive concerns. The survey was conducted to analyze risk factors associated with Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS), which resulted in the loss of nearly 500 late-term pregnancies during the spring of 2001 and approximately 2,000 early fetal losses.  Early fetal losses in equines have occurred previously in the area (1981 foaling season and to a lesser extent in 1980) with an undefined causal agent, however reported losses during those years do not approach the intensity or severity of MRLS in 2001.

The University of Kentucky researchers have examined weather patterns and related data of this past spring and historical weather data. Researchers also continue to explore and study numerous toxicological and biochemical mechanisms involved in MRLS.  No findings from any of these studies can be considered conclusive.

Findings to Date: Weather Data

Findings to Date: Farm Survey Results

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