May 11, 2001 | By: Laura Skillman

A survey of losses on horse farms conducted for the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky shows a 79 percent pregnancy rate.

Dr. Roberta Dwyer, UK veterinarian, said of the 270 questionnaires sent out through the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club on May 7, 159 farms provided answers May 9, a two-day turnaround time.

Of the 159 farms reporting, 37 reported no early fetal losses, while 17 had over 50 percent early fetal losses, she said. These were composed primarily of farms with 30 or fewer mares that were pregnant on day 42 of gestation.

"The number of mares considered in foal when checked at 42 days was 3,294, of those 2,616 were still in foal on May 7," Dwyer said. "This represents a 79 percent pregnancy rate."

Dwyer reported the findings at a meeting May 10 at Keeneland. The meeting was called to update the horse industry on the efforts to solve Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome which is causing foal deaths in the state.

Dwyer cautioned that the numbers need to be taken in context. The questions were very specific as to the number of mares pregnant at day 42 of gestation and also pregnant on May 7, 2001.

"We are looking at a snapshot of the industry of 159 farms at a particular time," she said. "The numbers today are going to be very different so we are kind of chasing a target."

Farms providing data included Fayette, Woodford, Bourbon, Scott and Jessamine counties with a smaller number of responses from nine other counties in the state.

A more in-depth study of all breeds in many areas of Kentucky will be undertaken very soon, Dwyer said.