Since the devastating disease process known as mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS) appeared on the scene in 2001 (and reappeared in 2002), concerted efforts have been focused on understanding and controlling the problem. Economic losses to the horse breeding industry have been staggering. On Aug. 27-28, the principal players–in both the scientific and applied aspects of MRLS–and a number of noted reproduction specialists from across North America convened at a workshop in Lexington, Ky.
The group undertook a detailed review of the investigative efforts that have been focused on this crisis during the past 18 months, then tried to plot a course for the future. In two full days at the University of Kentucky’s Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center, the 100 or so presenters and participants reviewed the clinical, diagnostic, and causal aspects of MRLS, considered the many research efforts underway, and tried to evaluate control measures that have been developed. Then the group rolled up its collective sleeves to plan future efforts against MRLS.
The concept for this gathering came from the Gluck Center’s David Powell, BVSc, and Tom Tobin, MVB, MSc, PhD, MRCVS, DABT.
Initial presentations from veterinarians concerned the clinical manifestations of early fetal loss, late-term abortion, pericarditis (heart), and uveitis (eye) cases.
Next was information on the diagnostic aspects of MRLS. The Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center has necropsied and evaluated many of the MRLS cases from Central Kentucky. The significant pathological findings were presented, including some of the unusual aspects of these losses. For example, bacteriological examinations yielded organisms not usually correlated with pregnancy loss.
Environmental, climatic, and other epidemiological factors were explored. In-depth surveys of farms with and without problems were used to identify risk factors. There were clear