Survey on horse pregnancy loss

Help needed: Research student Claudia Macleay, with her horse Cindy and her foal, is seeking participants for a survey to understand pregnancy loss in Australian mares.

A Charles Sturt University researcher is seeking participants for a survey to understand trends associated with mid-to-late-term equine pregnancy loss in Australian mares.

Master of Philosophy research student Claudia Macleay is conducting the research due to a current lack of information on when and where equine pregnancy loss is occurring.

The survey will investigate the current knowledge, attitudes and practices of Australian horse breeders in relation to equine pregnancy loss.

The second part of the survey will capture information on the Australian mare population, including the number of mares that experience pregnancy loss.

Ms Macleay said there was lots of information available on the causes of equine pregnancy loss, however, the finer detail around these circumstances needed to be explored.

“Breeding a mare involves lots of time, effort and money,” she said.

“In addition to the economic fallout with equine pregnancy loss, horse breeders are at risk of catching zoonotic bacterial diseases from equine aborted material or stillborn foals, so there is also a human risk involved.”

Ms Macleay said the research would identify any clusters of equine pregnancy loss that required further investigation.

“The data we collect in the survey will allow us to explore the risk factors involved in equine pregnancy loss, because when we know the risk factors, we can help breeders and those considering horse breeding to create plans and strategies to reduce pregnancy loss with their own mares.

“One day, this research may also be used to create an automatic disease surveillance system, similar to the ones used in the United Kingdom and United States.”

Ms Macleay encouraged all current, past and future horse breeders to participate in the research.

The online survey is completely anonymous and will provide the opportunity for participants to share their insights.

The survey can be accessed at and closes December 10.