May 23 Update: Additional Evidence Ruling Out Mycotoxins

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture on May 23 posted the following information on its web site at concerning Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome:

"The scientific investigations continue into the cause of mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS). Additional pasture and hay sample results obtained today (5/23) continue to be negative for all mycotoxins, adding further evidence that mycotoxins are not the cause of the syndrome.

"Intense investigation into the hypothesis that Eastern tent caterpillars may be the causal agent is underway, although additional hypotheses are also being pursued. In further review of the weather data obtained today, dating back to the mid-1970s, the weather patterns observed in 1980, 1981, and 2001 do appear to be unique. All three years had cold March temperatures, with warm April temperatures interrupted by frost or freeze in the third week of the month. We continue to believe this weather pattern is a contributing cause to MRLS.

"The scientific investigating teams appreciate the farms who have supplied hay and colostrum samples for analysis. We have received a total of 202 hay/pasture samples and five colostrum samples. Field reports from both farm managers and equine practitioners indicate fewer cases of MRLS both in the early and late stages.

"Dr. Doug Byars, Internal Medicine, Hagyard-Davidson-McGee, reported the hospital is still seeing a few foaling mares with problems, a slowing of early fetal loss problems in the field, some problems related to horses in confinement, and overall a much improved situation as compared to the last few weeks. Dr. Tom Riddle of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital and Dr. Byars will be on the information session program tomorrow night at Keeneland.

"There will NOT be a daily briefing posted tomorrow, Thursday, May 24, due to the information sharing session scheduled for 5:00 pm at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion. Farm owners, managers, industry representative, and the media are encouraged to attend."

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