Assessing animal exposure to urticating caterpillar hairs and developing management strategies to reduce the consequence of foetal abortion in mares. (2014–2017)
Equine Amnionitis and Foetal Loss (EAFL) accounts for about a third of mares aborting in Thoroughbred horse studs in southern QLD, NSW and VIC. Previous studies have shown that processionary caterpillars and their irritating setae (hairs) can cause EAFL. This project will determine the likelihood that other caterpillar species are involved based on hair morphology and a surrogate model system. A full risk assessment of the exposure of mares to these hairs in situ will be undertaken, based on the ecology and biology of the species. Outcomes include a management strategy for EAFL-causing insects and a reduction of EAFL within the industry.