A sequence of events surrounding the equine health crisis in Kentucky.
American Horse Council president Jay Hickey and National Thoroughbred Racing Association deputy commissioner Greg Avioli are meeting in Washington, D.C., Tuesday afternoon with Caroly Cooksie, deputy administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster relief loan programs. The meeting is a follow-up to talks held last week in Washington involving Hickey and NTRA commissioner Tim Smith and a number of federal legislators, including Rep. Larry Combest, an Amarillo, Texas, Republican who is chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
Following is a summary by Tom Priddy meterologist in the UK College of Agriculture, regarding weather and growing conditions for years when there were reported early fetal/foal losses in Kentucky in 2001, 1980, and 1981.
The death of Dubai Millennium from grass sickness has again highlighted the devastating effects of the disease, and brought to prominence research tied to finding causes and a cure.
An informal survey of Central Kentucky farms on May 21 suggests the worst may be over as far as mare reproductive loss syndrome is concerned. While heavy losses already have been incurred, particularly involving maiden and barren mares bred in February, the good news is that mares bred from late March on appear to be holding their pregnancies at close to normal percentages. Based on the surveys and on the normal distribution of Kentucky foals born between January and June, The Blood-Horse estimates the 2002 Kentucky foal crop will decrease by no more than 21%.
The University of Kentucky's coordinating group has been studying details of mare breeding records for 2001. This identified more precisely the time of the critical insult giving rise to the syndrome- -between April 17 and 23. Based on information provided, late abortions, the birth of weak foals, and early fetal losses appear to be linked to the same causal event.
As of noon May 21, the Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center had received 12 additional aborted/stillborn equine fetuses/foals (one early-term and 11 late-term) for diagnostic testing/evaluation.
Peter Taaffe, owner of Taaffe Farm near Midway, Ky., in this interview with the University of Kentucky provides an update for his farm as of May 21.
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 www.keeneland.com.
The third week of May in Central Kentucky was marked by cautious optimism, with the slowing of early fetal and late-term gestation loss, growing frustration among industry professionals, and much-needed rain. The Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center has received more than 500 dead fetuses/foals this spring. Some veterinarians are predicting that the 2001 Kentucky foal crop could be reduced 5% to 10%, and the 2002 foal crop might drop 30% to 40% or more.
Southern States has included the patented mycotoxin binder MTB100 in its line of Triple Crown horse feeds since February of 2000, according to Bill Vandergrift, PhD, owner of Equivision nutrition company and a consulting nutritionist for Southern States.
The scientific investigation into Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome continued through the weekend as all teams work in their specific areas of expertise.
As of noon May 20, the Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center had received eight additional aborted/stillborn equine fetuses/foals (eight early-term and no late-term) for diagnostic testing/evaluation. The total received since April 28, 2001, is 516.
The scientific investigation into Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome continues. Numerous farm visits were made by scientists on Friday to further evaluate field and pasture characteristics. Laboratory analysis of samples continues.
As of noon May 19, with the addition of 11 aborted/stillborn equine fetuses/foals (two early-term and nine late-term) submitted to the Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center in Lexington, the total since April 28 has reached 508.
The latest MRLS information presented on the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture website.
Fescue toxicosis (toxicosis is any disease condition due to poisoning) is caused when tall fescue (Festuca arundinacaea) becomes infected with the mold Acremonium coenophialum.
Two extension specialists provide information on tent caterpillars.
As of noon May 18, a total of 11 additional aborted/stillborn equine fetuses/foals (8 late-term and 3 early-term) have been submitted for diagnostic testing/evaluation. The total as of this count since April 28, 2001 is 497.
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