Cause Of Early Pregnancy Loss In Mares Identified; Hope For Creation of Diagnostic Test

The exact reason for why a pregnant mare loses her foal is often unknown. Scientists at the Royal Veterinary College in London have identified a chromosomal defect that may cause early pregnancy loss in mares; they are hopeful that this identification will pave the way for a new diagnostic test.

Drs. Charlotte Shilton, Anne Kahler, Brian Davis, James Crabtree, James Crowhurst, Andrew McGladdery, D. Claire Wathes, Terje Raudsepp and Amanda de Mestre identified pregnancies in mares in which whole chromosomes are either duplicated or lost. A key cause of pregnancy loss, this is similar to Down’s Syndrome screening in humans. The researchers found this to be the reason why many pregnancies fail within the first two months.

The scientists obtained samples from seven vet practices across Ireland and Britain used three different genetic approaches and found that 20 percent of the lost pregnancies were aneuploid. Until this study, chromosomal defects were considered rare conditions in young horses that had developmental disorders.

Research is now being done to identify the cause of aneuploid pregnancies and to create diagnostic tests for pregnancy loss, which would help owners decide if further investment in breeding a mare is beneficial.

Read the full report here.

Read more at HorseTalk.

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