Research Expands on Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome

The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and the Commonwealth of Kentucky held a press conference late Sept. 20 to announce that they are splitting the cost of bringing in expert help to look at all of the health problems seen in Kentucky this spring. A team headed by Dr. Noah Cohen of Texas A&M University will look at not only records of aborted fetuses and dead foals sent to the Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center, but also at records from the two large referral equine practices in Central Kentucky and private practitioners.

While the survey conducted by the University of Kentucky and USDA specifically targeted reproductive losses, this investigation will review cases that included late-term abortions and stillbirths, newborn foals with specific clinical signs, early pregnancy loss, pericarditis (heart) cases, and atypical uveitis (eye) cases. It is hoped that a set of predisposing factors will help indicate a cause of the problems and offer recommendations for future control.

The study was funded at a cost of $112,800. Personnel involved in the study are:

- Cohen, a specialist in equine internal medicine with advanced training and extensive experience in equine epidemiology.

- Dr. Vincent J. Carey, a biostatistician with advanced training in biostatistics and statistical computing. He is a faculty member at Harvard Medical School with a joint appointment to the Harvard School of Public Health.

- Dr. James Donahue, a veterinary epidemiologist with advanced training and experience in epidemiology. He has particular interest in infectious disease epidemiology and investigation of outbreaks. He is affiliated with the USDA in Wisconsin.

- Dr. Timothy Phillips, a world-renowned toxicologist in the field of mycotoxins and mycotoxin-associated diseases. He is Professor of Toxicology at Texas A&M University.

- Dr. Janyce Cornick-Seahorn, a veterinarian with advanced training in internal medicine and anesthesia. She will be the Study Coordinator and will be based at the Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center.