Large number of wild horse deaths in Colorado facility

Photo courtesy of Envato Elements

From staff reports

One hundred and nineteen wild horses have died since April 23 at a Bureau of Land Management facility in Canon City, Colorado. Officials suspect it is a highly contagious Equine Influenza that is causing the deaths.

Positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results from two veterinary diagnostic laboratories identified the strain of equine influenza (subtype H3N8) in nasal swabs and lung tissue from several horses, according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 

The facility is under a voluntary quarantine, while veterinarians and epidemiologists investigate and lab tests their findings. 

“The Bureau of Land Management will review operations at the Canyon City facility to prevent future outbreaks like this from occurring,” said Ben Gruber, BLM Colorado acting associate state director. “This tragic outcome was influenced by a population of horses that may have been particularly vulnerable, given their time in the West Douglas area and their exposure to last year’s wildfire that prompted their emergency gather.”

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