02/11/2003 12:00AM

UK study names abortion factors

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - A survey by the University of Kentucky's Department of Veterinary Science and College of Agriculture has identified four possible risk factors in a rise in equine abortions in the fall of 2002.

A university release issued Tuesday said that responses from 30 farms, including eight that showed higher than normal autumn abortions, revealed four possible risk factors for those abortions. Those are topical application of insecticides, presence of Eastern tent caterpillars, presence of mare reproductive loss syndrome, and increased illnesses. The release noted that both control farms - unaffected by abnormally high losses - and affected farms had used insecticides to control caterpillars.

The Livestock Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Lexington also released its latest count of aborted fetuses submitted to the lab for analysis in 2003. Submissions number 196 since the first week in January 2003, up from 162 for the same time frame in 2002. The lab reported that the fetuses it has examined so far this year have not shown signs consistent with MRLS and that the rise in submissions may be because of other factors, including an increase in the number of pregnant mares.