Phase Two Of The Post-Mortem Of Late-Term Pregnancy Loss Project Commences

Phase Two of the Post-Mortem Of Late-Term Pregnancy Loss Project is set to commence at the start of June.

This project is funded through the AgriFutures Australia Thoroughbred Horses Program and aims to determine the causes and trends of late-term pregnancy loss in Australia.

The initial phase took place in the Hunter Valley and involved the development of a confidential database, as well as the creation of training manuals to ensure a standardised procedure for conducting foetal post-mortems and the collection of results.

Phase Two will now pilot the most effective way to expand this research nationally. As a result, breeders in New South Wales, Northern Victoria and Southern Queensland will now have access to fully funded foetal post-mortems. However, it is important to note that there is a cap on the number that will be conducted in each state and foetuses must meet specific eligibility criteria.

The veterinary clinics taking part in the pilot are:

  • Scone Equine Hospital (New South Wales)
  • Darling Downs Vet (South-East Queensland)
  • Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital (Northern Victoria)

Each clinic has its own specific procedure for dropping off a foetus but as a general rule you must:

  • Contact the clinic first to make sure they haven’t exceeded their quota for funded post-mortems and that your foetus fits the eligibility criteria.
  • Sign a consent form – a vet will not start a post-mortem without this.
  • Double-bag the foetus using heavy duty garbage bags.
  • Keep foetus at a temperature between 4-10 degrees Celsius. To do this, it is recommended that the double-bagged foetus be placed in a large plastic container or bin with ice beneath it and on top.
  • Deliver the aborted foetus within 24 hours of discovery.

Breeders will be provided will a full set of results following the post-mortem. These are expected within five working days, but the EHV PCR will be sent as soon as it’s available, usually within 48 working hours.

For the purpose of the broader research, all details will remain strictly confidential and the data will have no direct link to any horse, farm or breeder; the only people who will have access to the results are the mare owner, the vet who conducted the post-mortem and the lead researcher.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, please contact James Murray at TBA on 0407 137 032 or

James will be able to provide you with the detailed information specific to your state, including the relevant consent form, eligibility criteria, and transport and drop-off instructions.

You can also access the Frequently Asked Questions for each state via the links below:

NSW Frequently Asked Questions

VIC Frequently Asked Questions

QLD Frequently Asked Questions

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