Second Industry Meeting Set on Fetal Loss Syndrome

At Monday's daily briefing from the University of Kentucky, it was announced that the scientific investigating team, with the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club, will hold an information sharing session on Thursday, May 24, similar to the session held on May 10. The session will begin at 5:00 pm at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion. The entire session will be web-cast live from the Website at

At the meeting, summary data analyzed to date and informational reports will be given by all teams of the scientific investigation. Field briefings from equine practitioners and farm managers will also be given. This is an open, information sharing meeting for horse farm owners and managers. A question and answer session will be held for approximately 30 minutes following the presentations.

Early fetal loss (EFT) has occurred previously in the area with an undefined causal agent, as reported in 1980 and 1981 foaling seasons. However, the reported losses during those years do not approach the intensity or severity of mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS) in 2001. Similar weather patterns during the months of March and April of all three years make weather conditions suspect as a contributing cause. The University of Kentucky has added additional information to their Website under "Weather Data Summaries," including a graph of MRLS degree days during March and April for all three years compared to normal (See graph, more information)

In 2001, 1981, and 1980, there was below normal temperatures in March resulting in suppressed biological activity and suppressed growing seasons, followed by above normal temperatures in April. A sharp rise in the slopes of lines plotted to represent MRLS degree days is indicative of explosive biological activity and growing season, especially in 2001 and 1981, and to a lesser degree in 1980. The warm temperatures began the last week of March (1981) or the first week of April (1980 and 2001). All three years also experienced frost or freeze the third week of April, followed by warm temperatures within a few days. Those frost/ freeze dates were April 16 in 1980; April 21 in 1981, and April 17 and 18 in 2001. Analysis of weather data will continue to see if these trends are unique to these three years or replicated in other years on record.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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