Blood-Horse Staff

Kentucky Legislators Ask USDA for Help With Horse Industry 'Disaster'

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and two members of the House of Representatives from the Bluegrass State -- Ernie Fletcher of the 6th Congressional district and Ed Whitfield from the 1st district -- have written a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman alerting her of the foal/fetal loss syndrome in Kentucky and asking for assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Dr. Byars--Pericarditis Becoming More of a Problem

While the numbers are nowhere near those associated with early fetal loss and late gestation pregnancy loss, there is a pattern appearing with horses developing pericarditis (fluid in the sac around the heart), said Dr. Doug Byars, a specialist in internal medicine at Hagyard-Davidson-McGee's medicine unit in Lexington, Ky. At the industry meeting at Keeneland on Thursday, May 10, Byars reported that there had been 20 cases of pericarditis at Haygard's and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in the past week.

Dr. Byars--Pericarditis Becoming More of a Problem

While the numbers are nowhere near those associated with early fetal loss and late gestation pregnancy loss, there is a pattern appearing with horses developing pericarditis (fluid in the sac around the heart), said Dr. Doug Byars, a specialist in internal medicine at Hagyard-Davidson-McGee's medicine unit in Lexington, Ky. At the industry meeting at Keeneland on Thursday, May 10, Byars reported that there had been 20 cases of pericarditis at Haygard's and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in the past week.

TRF Tabbed as NTRA Charities Affiliate

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association has named the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) a horseracing affiliate of its nonprofit branch, NTRA Charities. The TRF provides aftercare and adoptive services for retired racehorses in several states, and is the largest and oldest organization of its kind in the U.S.

TVG to Air Singapore Cup

TVG has announced that it will televise the $1.65 million Singapore Airlines International Cup from Kranji Racecourse beginning at 11 a.m. eastern standard time Saturday, May 12. The race will be shown on a tape-delayed basis, and there will be no TVG account wagering on the contest.

Kentucky's Fields of Dreams Now Nightmares

The old-timers say Kentucky is horse country because of its soil. What's now growing on that soil could be the cause of a rash of late-term losses in foals, early embryonic death, pericarditis (fluid surrounding the heart), reduced growth rates in young horses, and other problems that might not yet have been recognized.

Researchers Unite to Search for Cause of Crisis

Over and over the refrain has been heard for the past two weeks--the horse industry is lucky to have the equine expertise concentrated in Central Kentucky, especially during this time of all-out war against an unknown killer. Dr. Roger Murphy, president of the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association and the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners, opened the informational meeting the evening of May 10 with the statement: "I'm proud to be a part of an industry that can unify in the face of adversity."

Evidence Presented at Keeneland Suggests All Horses May Be at Risk

The foal loss syndromes facing Kentucky's pregnant mares might be just the start of a host of problems that could affect horses of all ages, breeds, sexes, and uses in Kentucky and other states. Whether you have a gelding that is on turn-out, a yearling, suckling, stallion, or non-pregnant mare, there could be problems brewing. This information and much more was brought to light at an open meeting at the Keeneland sale pavilion in Lexington, Ky., on the evening of May 10.

Preliminary Test Results Suggest Possible Causes, Preventative Measures

After testing numerous pasture samples for mycotoxins, endophytes, and other possible causes to the problems in Kentucky, tests have shown higher than expected levels of a mycotoxin called zearalenone, according to Dr. Steve Jackson, a consultant for Bluegrass Equine Nutrition. Jackson and other presenters stressed that zearalenone has not been pinpointed as the definitive cause to the problems.

Two Ohio Counties Experiencing Similar Syndromes

Now two counties in Ohio are seeing syndromes similar to those being presented in Kentucky, according to an update Thursday by Dr. Grant Frazer, associate professor at Ohio State University. Frazer said there is no way to make a confirmation that this is the same problem that Kentucky veterinarians and researchers are dealing with, since no definitive description of the problem has been narrowed down.

Florida Only State Requiring Special Permit for Kentucky Shippers

The Kentucky state veterinarian's office has fielded calls from all over the country regarding late term abortions and early foal loss in Kentucky mares, but Florida remains the only state to take action. The Sunshine State is requiring a special permit for horses shipping in from Kentucky. Dr. Don Notter, Kentucky state veterinarian, is recommending that anyone shipping a mare anywhere should contact the state veterinarian for their destination. He said restrictions and special permits could become required almost overnight.

Related Stories From the Late Term Abortion/Fetal Loss Meeting

Related stories from Thursday's Late Term Abortions and Early Fetal Loss Information Session at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion:

Foal Losses 'Devastating' to Family-Run Jonabell Farm

Preliminary Test Results Suggest Possible Causes, Preventative Measures

Latest Numbers Presented on Extent of Syndromes

Breeding Sheds Set to Rally

Keeneland Info Session Goes to Video

Ohio Vet: Problems Not Just in Kentucky

Florida Still Only State Requiring Permits for Kentucky Horses

Keeneland Info Session Goes to Video

The information session on late term abortions and early fetal loss conducted at the Keeneland sales pavilion Thursday will be available online at Keeneland's web site, www.keeneland.com, for the next 48 hours. In addition, Keeneland announced at the meeting that it will have a videotape of the session available early next week.

Foal Losses: View From the Field

Actually, the view from the field in Central Kentucky is rather lonely. There are acres and acres of fresh-mown--or being furiously mowed--pastures that are beginning to resemble putting greens. The recommendation is to cut the grass to hopefully reduce the amount of mycotoxins being ingested by mares--if in fact that is the cause of the current syndromes affecting pregnant mares. Managers and owners desperate for something to do that might help are taking all suggestions seriously. Veterinarians are pulling out all the stops treating at-risk mares with everything that seems logical. Researchers and scientists are busily taking samples and running tests to try and find answers.

Florida Officials Tracking Requests for Horse Shipments; Van Companies Busy

Officials with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Division of Animal Industry, reported early Thursday afternoon that in 2 1/2 days they have received applications for 71 permits for horse shipments from Kentucky to Florida. In the wake of the recent foal/fetal loss outbreak in Kentucky, the state of Florida enacted temporary regulations requiring all horses from the Bluegrass State be tracked through the issuance of a permit from the state's Commissioner of Agriculture.

Del Mar Goes On-line with Stakes Nominations

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has gone on-line with nominations for this year's Del Mar Debutante, Del Mar Futurity and the other races making up Del Mar's $6.3 million stakes schedule. On-line stakes nominations can be made using a major credit card and Del Mar's secure server.

Derby Winner Monarchos Arrives at Pimlico for Preakness

John Oxley's Kentucky Derby hero Monarchos arrived at Pimlico Race Course Wednesday with plans to gallop under regular exercise rider Bryan Beccia Thursday. Trained by John Ward, Jr., Monarchos was accompanied on the flight by 3-year-old stablemate Hero's Tribute and a maiden, as well as the stable pony, and arrived under the supervision of assistant trainer Yvonne Azeff. Ward is due in Baltimore Saturday.

Cat Chat Remains Undefeated; Xtra Heat Upset in Nassau County

Cat Chat scored a nose victory Wednesday in Belmont Park's opening day feature, the $150,000, Nassau County Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies. Favored Xtra Heat, who had lost only one of 13 previous career starts, was runnerup with Shooting Party another 2 1/4 lengths behind. The loss ended a six-race win streak for Xtra Heat.

Lone Star Park to Manage New Texas Track; Amphitheater in Plans

A $14-million racetrack/amphitheater has been announced for Amarillo, Texas. Construction on the facility, along Interstate 40 near the famous Cadillac Ranch art display, is expected to begin this summer. It will provide more than 400 jobs upon completion. The 275-acre track-amphitheater complex is being built by Yellow Rose Entertainment Inc., along with strategic managing partner Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie.

Diagnostic Lab Releases Numbers

As of noon today (May 9), the University of Kentucky's Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center stated that a total of 371 aborted/stillborn fetuses had been submitted for diagnostic testing/evaluation since April 28, 2001. The total includes 25 submitted by noon on May 9, and 28 submitted May 8.

Foal Loss Meeting to be Broadcast Via Internet

The Keeneland Association announced Wednesday that Thursday's inforamtional meeting concerning later term abortions and early fetal deaths will be offered on its Website. The meeting, organized by the Kentucky Farm Managers' Club and the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners, begins at 5 p.m. (ET) in Keeneland's sales pavilion.

Cases of Foal Loss Syndrome Reported in Ohio

A veterinarian in Morgan County, Ohio, suspects that five cases of red bag delivery within the past week--plus 10 pregnant mares that are now empty--could be the same syndrome that horse owners and veterinarians in Kentucky are dealing with, according to Grant Frazer, BVSc, MS, Associate Professor at The Ohio State University.

Feed Additive Might Help Protect Mares During Foal Loss Syndrome

Veterinary and diagnostic professionals in Kentucky are working feverishly to identify the cause of the recent abortion and early fetal loss syndromes. One of the most probable causes is mycotoxins in pastures. If that is the case, then a mycotoxin binder used for other animals--and now being produced locally as a feed additive for horses--could offer the first preventative treatment for the current situation.

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