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Theriogenology. 2012 Oct 1;78(6):1361-70. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2012.06.002. Epub 2012 Aug 13.

Efficacy of domperidone gel in an induced model of fescue toxicosis in periparturient mares.

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Equi-Tox, Inc., Central, South Carolina, USA.


The objective was to evaluate the efficacy of domperidone in the prevention of reproductive complications of fescue toxicosis in periparturient mares. Pregnant mares at ≤310 days of gestation were fed ≥200 μg ergovaline per kg diet daily in endophyte-infected fescue hay and seed, starting ≥30 days before their expected foaling date (EFD: 340 days after breeding). Thirty-five mares were randomized to a treatment group to receive either domperidone gel (n = 20, 1.1 mg/kg, PO, once daily) or placebo (n = 15). Treatment was initiated 10 to 15 days before the EFD and continued for 5 days after foaling. "Treatment success" was defined as foaling within 14 days of the EFD, adequate mammary development on the day of foaling, and adequate lactation for 5 days postpartum. Twenty-seven mares were included in the effectiveness analysis. More mares in the domperidone group (12/13, P < 0.0001) were treatment successes than in the control group (1/14). Gestation length was shorter (P = 0.0011), and lactation at foaling (P = 0.0011) was better for the domperidone-group mares. Foals from two control mares were born dead and four others died or were euthanized within a few days after birth, compared with one foal death (an autolyzed twin) from a domperidone-treated mare. Plasma IgG concentrations were evaluated in 24 foals. Failure of passive transfer of immunoglobulins (IgG <800 mg/dL) occurred in 13/16 (81%) foals of domperidone-group mares and 7/8 (88%) foals of control mares. In conclusion, the reproductive complications of fescue toxicosis in periparturient mares induced by a fescue seed/hay model were prevented by treatment with domperidone.

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