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ABORTION, stillbirths and neonatal deaths are an important source of economic loss for an equine industry. Many of the infectious disease agents that have been implicated are important from the viewpoint of international trade (Butler and others 2011). Having knowledge of the likely presence of specific infectious agents in an area is very useful for clinicians when attempting to identify the cause of an abortion and when assessing the predictive value of a diagnostic test.
As reported in previous studies (Hong and others 1993, Butler and others 2011, Laugier and others 2011), the causes of abortion can change over time, as a reflection of improved diagnostic capability or because of background differences in at-risk equine populations. Moreover, regional differences can also influence the cause and frequency of pregnancy loss (Giles and others 1993, Hong and others 1993, Tengelsen and others 1997, Smith and others 2003, Butler and others 2011, Laugier and others 2011). Monitoring and surveillance of the causes of fetal loss over time is very important.
The aim of this study was to investigate the principal causes of abortion, stillbirth and neonatal mortality in horses in central Italy, with particular emphasis on those of infectious aetiology.
Abortion was defined as fetal loss before 300 days' gestation, stillbirth as delivery of a dead foal after 300 days of gestation and neonatal mortality as foals that die within seven days of birth. A total …