DALLAS – In March one case of Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome in Florida was confirmed by University of Florida researchers. Two others are strongly suspected. Now Texas’ veterinarians and the state’s equine industry are keeping a close eye on the problem.
That’s because MRLS, as it is commonly called, is believed to be caused when horses ingest the eastern tent caterpillar, a native Texas insect that is found throughout the eastern half of the state.
All three Florida cases occurred this spring in Alachua County. Two involved septic foals, or foals with internal infections, which had to be euthanized. The third case was a late-term abortion.
The diagnosis was confirmed by University of Florida pathologist Dr. John Roberts, who worked at the University of Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center during an outbreak of MRLS in the Bluegrass State in 2001-2002.