University Of Pennsylvania To Identify Causes Of Abortion And Pregnancy Wastage In Study

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine received funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for a three year study to identify the causes of abortion and pregnancy wastage in horses in Pennsylvania.

Patricia Sertich, VMD, Dipl. ACT, assistant professor of reproduction at the school, is the chief investigator. Early in 1999, horse breeders in the state will be sent a survey to determine their preventative management of broodmares and to solicit their participation in this project. Veterinarians who provide reproductive care for these breeding farms will be solicited to participate in the project and receive information and materials to properly submit diagnostic specimens for determination of the cause of pregnancy loss in any aborting mares. Owners who are willing to complete a management survey and provide properly submitted specimens will receive a complete necropsy of any aborted fetuses. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture grant will underwrite the cost of necropsy and diagnostic tests.

Horse breeding is a viable industry in Pennsylvania. A large amount of money, time, and effort is invested in preparing mares for breeding, getting them bred, and maintaining them throughout pregnancy and delivery. In the mare, twin pregnancy is the most common documented cause of abortion. The introduction of ultrasonography in the 1980s to examine early pregnancy in mares has permitted the development of methods to manage twins early in gestation before abortion or neonatal loss occurs. Little has changed over the last 15 years with regard to management recommendations of the late pregnant broodmare. Insufficient information is available about the control of other causes of abortion in horses. Information obtained in this study will allow recommendations to be made on how to prevent these losses and may identify new areas of research in pregnancy loss.

Interested veterinarians and horse breeders in Pennsylvania are encourage to contact Sertich at New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 382 West St. Rd., Kennett Square, Penn. 19348-1692; 610/444-5800.

About the Author

Tim Brockhoff

Tim Brockhoff was Staff Writer of The Horse:Your Guide to Equine Health Care from 1995 to 1999. His degree is in Agricultural Communications from the University of Kentucky, and his equine experience is with American Saddlebreds.

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