The long-awaited expansion of the University of Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center, made possible through an $8.5-million appropriation from the Kentucky General Assembly this spring, is about to begin and could be completed in about two years, officials said.
Kentucky's horse industry is proceeding with a plan to develop a computerized equine reproductive health monitoring system at the University of Kentucky's Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center (LDDC) after hearing and approving a proposal Monday from a Virginia-based epidemiologist.
Scientists in Kentucky say it is too soon to tell whether West Nile virus (WNV) has been causing equine abortions. But they have found enough evidence to make them want to explore the possibility that the disease can play a role in fetal loss.
The University of Kentucky Disease Diagnostic Center reported Thursday that a total of 386 aborted/stillborn equine fetuses/foals had been submitted for diagnostic testing/evaluation since the problem first arose late last month.
Two "syndromes" of unknown origin that began in late April are causing Central Kentucky farms to lose an excessive number of foals and fetuses. The first syndrome results in what broodmare owners know as "red bag," or premature placenta separation. The placenta comes out before the foal, often causing the foal to suffocate if the birth is unattended. The second syndrome was discovered a short time later, when veterinarians began to perform 60-day ultrasound fetal checks and found many mares either were not pregnant or in the process of ending their pregnancies. Some farms have experienced losses from 25-75% of next year's foal crop. There is no evidence the problems are slowing down.