MRLS Research Funded by Kentucky Agriculture Board

The equine breeding industry is among the recipients of funds from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, which allocated more than $4.3 million for 2003 projects.

The Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders received $190,000 to continue research into mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS), which struck Central Kentucky in the spring of 2001. The exact cause of MRLS still hasn’t been determined.

Researchers and breeders have partnered to implement a modified MRLS monitoring system for the 2003 breeding and foaling season. They will continue surveillance measures established in 2002 and utilize the results to hopefully narrow the focus of the study and provide more effective countermeasures.

Eastern tent caterpillars have been closely linked to MRLS. During a March 17 examination of wild cherry trees in Woodford County, Ky., researchers noted caterpillar larvae were beginning to hatch from eggs. The hatch process will continue for two to three weeks, researchers said.

Meanwhile, the Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center reported March 18 that the cumulative total of equine abortion accessions for all breeds was 302 this year compared with 328 for the same period in 2002. For the second week of March, there were 25 abortions this year compared with 38 last year.

About the Author

Tom LaMarra

Tom LaMarra, a native of New Jersey and graduate of Rutgers University, has been news editor at The Blood-Horse since 1998. After graduation he worked at newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as an editor and reporter with a focus on municipal government and politics. He also worked at Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Times before joining The Blood-Horse. LaMarra, who has lived in Lexington since 1994, has won various writing awards and was recognized with the Old Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of the horse racing industry. He likes to spend some of his spare time handicapping races.

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