The Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club focused on equine health and biosecurity and offered a presentation by guest speaker Dr. Roberta Dwyer of the Gluck Equine Research Center Oct. 9.
A working group in Central Kentucky has begun an epidemiological study in the wake of 40 cases of equine leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that has resulted in foal loss in some mares.
An outbreak of Equine Viral Arteritis has been confirmed at a New Mexico Quarter Horse farm, according to a release from the Reference Laboratory for Equine Viral Arteritis at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture's Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center.
The University of Kentucky has launched an initiative designed to ensure its programs are responsive to the needs of the horse industry in the state.
Necropsies from the two horses affected by neurologic signs at Churchill Downs showed the horses had lesions consistent with equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (damage to the brain and/or spinal cord). Three other horses are currently showing neurologic signs.
The National Horsemen's Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, given the results of a recent study, has suggested research into medication thresholds and withdrawal times be performed using horses in training.
The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council agreed in principal to allocate $350,000 for research to develop tests for presence of the drugs Inolin and Dizocilpine.
The Kentucky Racing Commission has approved an agreement with the University of Kentucky for the college to apply for accreditation of its Animal Drug Testing Program and better monitor projects and control related costs.
The Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station has published the scientific papers from the August 2002 workshop on Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome, convened at the University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center.
Kentucky has kept extensive statistics on West Nile virus cases in the state. At the March 7 West Nile Virus Workshop at the University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center, Rusty Ford, Kentucky Equine Programs Manager, reviewed equine WNV statistics from past years. He also described how the state planned to make reporting cases easier in 2003.
Two bills that would permit officials in Kentucky to spend money on equine drug research out of state were withdrawn from consideration in the state House of Representatives.
A campaign to bring about changes in equine drug research in Kentucky has spilled over into the public and political arenas with a call for legislative action.
The scientific community wrapped up a two-day workshop at the University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center Aug. 28 with a thorough review of research into mare reproductive loss syndrome, and some ideas on how to proceed in 2003.
Kentucky farm managers and owners are taking steps to prevent the reoccurrence of mare reproductive loss syndrome while fervently hoping last year's devastation was a one-shot deal. There are almost as many theories of what caused MRLS as there are people addressing the problem, so preventative measures differ from farm to farm.
Cyanide has been identified as a potential risk or contributing factor in two illnesses that have dominated the Thoroughbred industry headlines this year.
The survey of 133 Central Kentucky farms was designed to identify risk factors, not causes, of mare reproductive loss syndrome, said Dr. Roberta Dwyer of the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center. As a result of the survey, a list of recommendations will be put forth in the next four to six weeks to help farm managers avoid risk factors in the future.
Results from the survey of 133 farms in Central Kentucky regarding the early fetal loss and late-term abortions that occurred this spring substantiated the preliminary ideas held by researchers and veterinarians this spring. The survey also put to rest some fears of causes put forth by individuals in the industry. It is perhaps this second result that makes the survey good news for horse owners.
As Central Kentucky breeders and owners prepare for the "ripple effect" from mare reproductive loss syndrome, Kentucky legislators are in the process of gathering information to assess the damage. Meanwhile, a state equine emergency management plan is in the works.
Based on University of Kentucky researchers' identification of cyanide as the likely cause of the Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome, they have determined there is no need to ship mares outside the state and that the pastures are safe.
Here is what is known, observed, and postulated so far about Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome.
The third week of May in Central Kentucky was marked by cautious optimism, with the slowing of early fetal and late-term gestation loss, growing frustration among industry professionals, and much-needed rain. The Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center has received more than 500 dead fetuses/foals this spring. Some veterinarians are predicting that the 2001 Kentucky foal crop could be reduced 5% to 10%, and the 2002 foal crop might drop 30% to 40% or more.
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."
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.
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