Emergency Breeding Procedures Filed for Kentucky Farms

Due to concerns resulting from last year's foal losses attributed to mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS), on Feb. 4 the Kentucky Department of Agriculture filed emergency regulations regarding procedures to be followed when breeding an imported mare in the state. The regulations will allow stallion owners to forego the 12-hour embargo on breeding after covering an imported mare if she has undergone extra testing.

State Veterinarian Don Notter, DVM, met with an equine advisory committee comprised of scientists and researchers from the University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center and area veterinarians to make the amendments to the procedures. In addition, the group called in practicing veterinarians with experience in dealing with contagious equine metritis (CEM).

"The long and short of it is, whenever we breed an imported mare, the stallion was required to be scrubbed and treated (following breeding), and remain out of service for a minimum of 12 hours (to allow optimal time for the cleansing agents to work)," explained Rusty Ford of the state veterinarian's office. "The stallion will no longer be required to stay out of service following the cover of an imported mare."

The regulations were amended because of concerns expressed by Central Kentucky breeding farms. Due to the foal losses, there is a greater number of barren mares available to be bred, and farms are looking for every safe opportunity to have those mares covered. With the 12-hour waiting period, farms were going to lose valuable breeding time.

"We have adjusted the pre-breeding requirement for imported mares, which enables us to accomplish this goal," Ford said. Prior to being bred in Kentucky, any imported mare will have a swab collected from her endometrium and tested (in addition to the CEM cultures that have been required in the past). The updated requirements and protocols can be found on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's site at www.kyagr.com/state_vet/ah/programs/equineprogs.

Check www.TheHorse.com for updates.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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