Dr. Doug Byars, a veterinary reproductive specialist at Hagyard-Davidson-Mcgee near Lexington, offers the latest information and advice to horse owners and farm managers concerning the excessive loss of late-term and near term foals. He was interviewed by Kimberly S. Graetz, editor of The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care (www.thehorse.com) and a contributing editor to The Blood-Horse.
Two "syndromes" of unknown origin that began in late April are causing Central Kentucky farms to lose an excessive number of foals and fetuses. The first syndrome results in what broodmare owners know as "red bag," or premature placenta separation. The placenta comes out before the foal, often causing the foal to suffocate if the birth is unattended. The second syndrome was discovered a short time later, when veterinarians began to perform 60-day ultrasound fetal checks and found many mares either were not pregnant or in the process of ending their pregnancies. Some farms have experienced losses from 25-75% of next year's foal crop. There is no evidence the problems are slowing down.
An outbreak of early-term fetal loss in 1980 was eventually discounted by researchers as an "artifact epidemic" caused by earlier than usual examinations. Still, that outbreak now is viewed by many as similar in nature to the current syndrome that many Central Kentucky farms are experiencing. According to experts such as Dr. David Powell of the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center, the current problem is much more widespread than in 1980.
Dr. David Powell, an epidemiologist at the University of Kentucky's Veterinary Science Department in the Gluck Equine Research Center, was interviewed Monday by The Blood-Horse about the unusually high number of early fetal loss and late-term abortions among broodmares at Central Kentucky farms.
The following questionnaire about fetal death and late-term abortions is being distributed by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Manangers' Club to its members. The questionnaire, dated May 7, was prepared by the University of Kentucky's Department of Veterinary Science.
The director and staff of the University of Kentucky's Livestock Disease Diagnostic Laboratory have been working long hours conducting necropsies and running tests in an attempt to find answers to the questions raised during the ongoing losses of fetuses and foals in the state. While there hasn't been time yet to compile official numbers of incoming horses for testing, more than 60 have come on some days. The normal number of incoming abortions per day at this time of year is five to six, with a little higher number per day of dead foals.
The Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club and the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners will hold a joint meeting Thursday (May 10) in the Keeneland sales pavilion near Lexington to discuss recent problems with early fetal loss and late term abortions in Central Kentucky. The meeting will begin at 5 p.m. (EDT).
Text of the memorandum issued by the University of Kentucky Veterinary Science Department on late term abortions and early fetal deaths.
Two "syndromes" that began near the end of the third week of April are causing Central Kentucky farms to lose an excessive number of foals and fetuses due to an as yet unknown cause. The first syndrome results in what mare owners know as "red bag," or premature placenta separation where the placenta comes out before the foal, often causing the foal to suffocate if the birth is unattended. The second syndrome was discovered around May 1 when veterinarians began routine 60-day fetal checks and discovered that many mares either were empty (not pregnant), or were in the process of losing their pregnancies. Some farms have experienced losses ranging from 25-75% of next year's foal crop. And there is no evidence that this problem is slowing down.
As spring moves into summer, the primary focus of activity on many breeding farms is preparation of yearlings for sale. There isn't much scientific research on exercising horses at that young age, yet many farms are using forced exercise to make these youngsters look like little athletes rather than the gangly teenagers they are. While it is good that ...
The American Association of Equine Practitioners recently released a brochure about vesicular stomatitis for the horse owner.
So far, the evidence for effective herbal deworning is next to nonexistent, according to Dr. Tom Klei of Louisiana State University.
Scientists are warning horse owners and veterinarians to be cautious about using compounded (private pharmacy-mixed) gastric ulcer medications.
West Nile made its Western Hemisphere debut in the summer and fall of 1999, attacking birds, horses, and humans. Twenty-five equine positives were confirmed in 1999 in the Northeast, followed by 59 positives in 2000.
The club foot might be one of the most common growth problems in young horses.
During thunderstorms, most horses show no noticeable response to either thunder or lightning independent of the severity of the rain and the wind.
The Horse magazine will conduct a free seminar for horse owners and industry professionals addressing EPM, West Nile, and Foot and Mouth disease concerns. The April 27 event at the Kentucky Horse Park Visitor's Information Center coincides with the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at the same location. Speakers will include Dr. Bill Saville, of The Ohio State University, and Dr. Peter Timoney, of the Gluck Equine Research Center, in Lexington.
The British Horseracing Board is set to relax its tough stance of not
racing at courses within 10 kilometers of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. BHB directors were to be told at a meeting Wednesday that further disruption to the flat racing season in Britain could occur if the policy isn't changed.
The British Horseracing Board is set to relax its tough stance of not racing at courses within 10 kilometers of a foot and mouth outbreak.
Strangles is a highly contagious disease of the upper respiratory system in the horse. It is caused by a bacterium, Streptococcus equi. Symptoms of strangles include inflammation of the throat, nasal discharge, and abscesses in the lymph nodes that are located in the head region.
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