BURTON, Ohio – The foal loss crisis in Kentucky has horse owners everywhere worried about the foaling season and wondering what they can do to prevent losses on their farms.
An educational meeting will be held June 11 at 7 p.m. at the Patterson Center on the Geauga County Fairgrounds, Burton. Grant Frazer, Ohio State veterinarian reproductive specialist, will address the topic of equine abortion.
Les Ober, Geauga County Extension program assistant, says his office wanted to give Geauga County residents information and dispel any rumors about the recent epidemic. He says that although some foals have been lost in northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania, the numbers are not unusual and the problem in Kentucky may not be related.
“(The Ohio State University) staff is reluctant to link any of the Kentucky cases to the few we’ve had here. There is no evidence to link anything,” said Ober. “No excessive amount of samples have been submitted to (the Ohio Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory).
“There may be more cases of loss than we know about, but without being submitted to Reynoldsburg, we have no way of knowing. We have heard from many vets saying there is a problem.”
Geauga County is home to more than 7,000 horses and it is the county’s largest livestock industry. Ober says there are many reasons for equine abortion and foal mortality, and he wants breeders in Geauga County to learn what can cause a mare to lose a foal.
“Horse owners need to have all the information possible. Hopefully this meeting will get the rumors and speculation out,” said Ober. “We are trying to get on top of the situation and we don’t want people to get into a panic.”
Frazer will give an overview of the many causes that can lead to abortion and foal mortality. He will also give an update on what is known and not known about the problems in Kentucky.
Randall James, Geauga County Extension’s ag agent, will also discuss managing hay and pasture to limit the risk of plant toxicity.
A session for veterinarians will be held prior to the 7 p.m. meeting.
Registration is requested and a $5 fee will be charged. The deadline to register is 4:30 p.m., June 8, or until room capacity is filled. To register or for information call 440-834-4656; 440-285-222, ext. 5260; or 440-564-7131, ext. 5260. Mail the registration to OSU Extension, P.O. Box 387, Burton, OH 44021.