Parrish: 1980 Foal Loss Crisis Numbers 'Nothing Like This'

David Parrish III, DVM, was president of the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners in 1980 when a mystery problem occurred that caused abortions in mares during early pregnancy. While both involved abortions and were mysteries, the differences in the severity of the two problems are as wide as the decades that separate them.

"All I remember was that it was nothing like this," said Parrish. "In 1980, I remember it was only a few farms and small numbers of horses affected. In this situation (2001), everyone is affected." Reports from The Blood-Horse of the time and Parrish's recollections both indicated that an exact cause for the abortions of 1980 was not found.

Reports from 1980 indicated a late spring frost that preceded the problems. This year, during an unusually hot and dry spring, low temperatures and snow hit on the morning of April 17.