A series of experimental studies involving administration of processionary caterpillars to pregnant mares, have been conducted at the University of Queensland, Gatton.
Work is also establishing a laboratory animal model of EAFL using guinea pigs. This provides an excellent means to explore in more detail how caterpillars can act to allow bacteria to gain entry into the pregnant uterus and how the disease progresses. We can also use the guinea pig model to determine if other species of caterpillar cause EAFL.
Field research is underway to better understand processionary caterpillar ecology. A particular focus of field studies is to identify ways of horses being exposed to risks of accidentally ingesting caterpillar hairs, and to devise interventions that will allow broodmare managers to minimise this risk.