Latest Foal Loss Update Shows No Change In Risk Factors

In the latest update on Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome, researchers at the University of Kentucky report the evidence continues to point toward cherry trees and a caterpillar infestation this spring as the likely causes of the problem. Research

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In the latest update on Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome, researchers at the University of Kentucky report the evidence continues to point toward cherry trees and a caterpillar infestation this spring as the likely causes of the problem. Research also has proven negative for hemlock plants as the source of the late-term abortions and foal losses.


The researchers report that an epidemiological survey has been conducted of 133 central Kentucky farms, representing 89% of the 150 farms initially contacted. The survey was compiled by on-site visits to each farm to ensure the “quality of data in the complex 11-page questionnaire,” the briefing stated. The farms surveyed had more than 17,000 horses on their premises as of April 1 and included the Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Saddlebred, and Morgan breeds.


While the data has been verified and entered into a computer, UK reported “an in-depth analysis of this data is very detailed and is not a fast process.”


However, preliminary analysis of pasture data has revealed several individual risk factors

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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