|Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS)
Confirmed in Florida
On Wednesday, March 29, the University
of Florida (UF) College of Veterinary Medicine confirmed one case of MRLS
and has two other cases that are suspect. All three cases occurred in
Alachua County, Florida this spring.
Two cases were septic foals that received treatment in the UFCVM intensive
care unit but were subsequently euthanized. The third case was a late-term
Diagnosis of MRLS was confirmed by UF pathologist Dr. John Roberts who
worked at the University of Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center
during the Kentucky MRLS outbreak of 2001-2002.
MRLS has not been previously reported in Florida. The Kentucky outbreak
suffered severe economic losses estimated to be near $336-500 million
and a loss of 30 percent of the estimated foal crop for 2002.
MRLS has been linked to the consumption of Eastern Tent caterpillars.
Eastern tent caterpillars prefer wild cherry, apple and crabapple. The
clinical syndromes include early pregnancy loss, late-term abortions,
foals born weak and septic, pericarditis, uveitis, laminits and oral ulceration.
Mare Owners: Take Action
At this time, we strongly recommend that all abortions and foal deaths
receive a post-mortem evaluation. Inspection of pastures for the presence
of cherry trees and caterpillars is critical. The only way to protect
the pregnant mare is to remove her from contact with the caterpillars.
Early pregnancy loss can be detected by ultrasonographic evaluation.
For more information, consult the University of Kentucky web page on
MRLS at www.ca.uky.edu/gluck/mrls/index.htm
or The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care at www.thehorse.com.