Veterinarians in Some States Report No Problem With Foal Losses

By Sarah E. Hogwood and Stephanie L. Church

As of May 10, the states of Tennessee, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana seem to be clear of the problems of foal losses facing Kentucky horse breeders. Since Tennessee's foaling season tends to coincide with Kentucky's foaling season, the southern neighbor might have escaped the problems with abortions, stillbirths, and early embryonic loss seen in Kentucky. Dennis Geiser, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, Department Head of the Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the University of Tennessee, said Tennessee practitioners will continue to monitor the situation.

Veterinarians in northern Virginia have been apprised of the situation in Kentucky, but so far are not seeing the effects there. However, with Virginia's foaling season falling slightly later than Kentucky's, there is concern. According to Shauna Spurlock, DVM, MS, of Spurlock Equine Associates in Lovettsville, Va., May is the heaviest foaling month for all breeds in the state. Another practitioner in northern Virginia confirmed that local mares were not showing problems thus far. However, many had not undergone a 65-day post-breeding check yet.

Reynolds Cowles, DVM, is a practitioner in Free Union, Va., and a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners' Board of Directors. Cowles said that the drought is worse in central Virginia than in Kentucky. It is unknown if the drought is a definitive factor in the fetal and foal losses.

Nathaniel A. White II, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, Theodora Ayer Randolph Professor of Surgery at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, said that he is on the lookout for any problems. "It has gone through our state vet's office, so everyone is aware of it," he said. White said that veterinarians at the Virginia Gold Cup compared notes, but none had seen anything abnormal.

According to David Freeman, MVB, MRCVS, of the University of Illinois in Champagne, Ill., there have not been any problems, but once again, Kentucky had a head start on the foaling season. The same applies to Indiana, according to Michel Levy, DVM, of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Veterinarians in Michigan have not seen any problems according to Harold Schott, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, Associate Professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., and Oakland Equine Clinic in South Lyon, Mich. (one hour from MSU). Michigan's weather and foaling season are about a month behind Kentucky's seasons.

Reports from Pennsylvania veterinarians have indicated that the problem has not been recognized there, either.

A previous report on indicated there were suspected cases of the foal loss syndrome in Ohio.