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Disease forces postponement of wild horse and burro adoption in Delta

Posted at 12:29 PM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 14:29:46-04

DELTA, Utah — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Fillmore Field Office and the Delta Wild Horse and Burro Facility have postponed the scheduled Nov. 1 adoption due to an upper respiratory disease in some of the horses at the facility.

The BLM tested individual animals and the diagnosis indicates Strep Equi (Streptococcus equi) or “strangles.” The BLM has temporarily quarantined the animals from leaving the facility until determining that the horses are no longer contagious.

This disease is highly contagious in horses and spread by infected animals. BLM officials have notified the Utah Department of Agriculture and Utah State Veterinarian of the outbreak. The BLM coordinated testing of the infected animals with the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

The Delta facility staff began seeing signs of strangles on October 16 within recently gathered horses, and younger animals that had naturally weakened or immature immune systems. No mortality has occurred from the localized outbreak, only clinical signs are being observed at this time. The quarantine will delay the adoption of the highly sought after Onaqui wild horses that were scheduled for adoption on November 1. The BLM has tentatively rescheduled the adoption date to January 2020.

“The BLM takes the health of every wild horse and burro seriously,” said Gus Warr, Utah Wild Horse and Burro Program Manager. “Facility staff and the contract veterinarian will monitor the Delta facility horses closely. After all signs of infection have passed, the quarantine will be lifted and horses ready for the January adoption.”