AXTELL, Utah -- The Bureau of Land Management and Axtell Contract Off-Range Corrals have issued a voluntary quarantine of wild horses at a facility due to a possible "Strangles" or equine distemper (Streptococcus equi) outbreak.
Horses at the Axtell Wild Horse Corrals facility are being tested for the infection after the animals contracted some sort of respiratory tract infection, a press release said. Individual horses are being tested, but an early diagnosis says the infection is "Strangles," the press release continued.
The initial signs of the infection are fever, trouble swallowing, noisy breathing, swollen lymph nodes, and thick discharge from the nose. The infection is highly infectious, spread through contact, and can cause death in some cases, but no horse has been reported dead yet, the press release said.
According to the press release, the Axtell facility staff started noticing possible signs of the infection on March 27, mostly in the younger animals. The quarantine will delay the adoption of highly sought Sulphur and Frisco wild horses that were scheduled for adoption, the press release said. The public tour scheduled for April 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., however, has not been affected by the quarantine.
"The BLM takes the health of every wild horse and burro seriously and the Axtell facility horses will be monitored closely by facility staff. After all signs of infection have passed, the horses will be scheduled for transfer to Oklahoma, Illinois, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, California, and within Utah for adoption to qualified individuals," said Gus Warr, Utah Wild Horse Program Manager, in the press release.