Agents of Abortion: Why Pregnant Mares Abort
The first step toward preventing pregnancy loss is understanding why it happens in the first place
As horse breeders eagerly await the impending birth of their foals, they can’t help but fear one thing: abortion. Abortion is foal loss before 300 days of gestation. In worst-case scenarios, breeding facilities don’t lose just one foal; a pathogen causes an abortion storm in which several mares lose their pregnancies around the same time. Regardless of the magnitude of losses, abortion can be a devastating emotional and financial blow to a horse owner.
It’s important to understand the various reasons mares abort and know whether yours is at risk. Keep in mind, however, that abortion causes differ based on geographic location. In this article we’ll review some of the most common infectious and noninfectious causes.
Equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1)
Peter Timoney, MVB, PhD, FRCVS, is the Frederick Van Lennep Chair in Equine Veterinary Science at the University of Kentucky and a designated world expert on equine rhinopneumonitis and equine viral arteritis for the World Organization for Animal Health. He says the most important cause of abortion in mares in the United States is equine herpesvirus-1, also known as equine rhinopneumonitis
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