Important Breeding Procedure Changed in Kentucky

Due to concerns resulting from last year's foal losses attributed to mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS), the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Feb. 4 filed emergency regulations regarding procedures that are followed when breeding an imported mare in the state.

State Veterinarian Don Notter met with an equine advisory committee comprised of scientists and researchers from the University of Kentucky's Gluck Center, and area veterinary practitioners to make the amendments to the procedures. In addition, the group called in practicing veterinarians with experience in dealing with contagious equine metritis (CEM).

"The long and short of it is, whenever we breed an imported mare, the stallion was required to be scrubbed and treated (following breeding), and remain out of service for a minimum of 12 hours (to allow optimal time for the cleaning agents to work)," explained Dr. Rusty Ford of the state veterinarian's office. "The stallion will no longer be required to stay out of service following the cover of an imported mare," he added.

The regulations were amended because of concerns expressed by Central Kentucky breeding farms. Due to the foal losses, there are a greater number of barren mares available to be bred, and farms are looking for every safe opportunity to have those mares covered. With the 12-hour waiting period, farms were going to lose valuable breeding time.

"We have adjusted the pre-breeding requirement for imported mares, which enables us to accomplish this goal," Ford added.

Prior to being bred in Kentucky, any imported mare will have a swab collected from her endometrium and tested to detect any disease (in addition to the CEM cultures that have been required in the past).