As the Eastern Tent Caterpillars are dissipating from Central Kentucky, so are reports of new incidences of symptoms related to Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome. However, veterinarians are still finding the damage the insects are blamed for causing earlier in the year.
Numbers from Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in the Lexington area have helped estimate the current early fetal loss rate at somewhere between 5% and 12% for mares checked between April 30 and May 17, but this information only applies to mares bred between March 16 and April 3. Breeding season continues until July 15.
Rood and Riddle said 50 of the 986 mares, or 5% of those treated by veterinarians in that practice, have lost their 2003 foals, according to ultrasound exams performed between April 30 and May 17. Earlier this week Hagyard-Davidson-McGee reported 12% of the 2103 mares its veterinarians checked from May 6-17 have early fetal loss. In total, that gives a 9.8% overall figure. A normal average at this point in the year would be 1-2%.
These numbers will help calm fears that the losses could again be as high as 20%, as they were in 2002. More numbers for the entire season will be needed to provide a more comprehensive figure as to the effect of MRLS on the 2003 crop of foals conceived and born in Kentucky.