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MRLS Effects Minimal In Florida

Tuesday, 11th April 2006

In Ocala, medical experts told 200 breeding industry attendees at an information meeting that the impact of the deadly Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome "has been minimal on central Florida horse farms this year",  but warned "steps should be taken to limit future problems in the area's vast equine industry," reported bloodhorse.com. MRLS officially surfaced for the 1st time in Florida during March & is responsible for "at least 3 equine deaths in Alachua & Marion counties". According to most theories, MRLS "results from pregnant mares ingesting Eastern tent caterpillars" & complications include late-term abortions & early-term fetal losses in mares recently bred-back to stallions. Dr John Roberts (who last year came to the University Of Florida from the University Of Kentucky's Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center) confirmed the 1st Florida case he saw in March "was clearly a case of MRLS"; the mare (which was part of the University Of Florida's breeding herd) was being kept at a farm that had both Eastern tent caterpillars & cherry trees (the preferred nesting spot for the caterpillars) & "delivered a septic foal on March 18 which exhibited the tell-tale sign of crusty, yellow umbilical cord". Roberts noted: "It's about the only syndrome that does this so acutely." Roberts also said MRLS may not be restricted to Eastern tent caterpillars (active in spring months) & suggested it may also be linked to ingestion of walnut caterpillars (which frequent walnut, pecan & hickory trees).

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