Denver, CO

Virus identified as cause of death at BLM’s wild horse facility

Margaret Jackson
(Fabian Burghardt on Unsplash)

By Margaret Jackson / NewsBreak Denver

(Canon City, Colo.) An equine influenza virus is likely the cause of the respiratory disease outbreak and related deaths occurring at the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Corrals in Canon City.

Positive lab test results from two veterinary diagnostic laboratories identified the virus in nasal swabs and lung tissue from several horses at the corrals located on the Colorado Department of Corrections East Canon Complex.

“The Bureau of Land Management will review operations at the Canon City facility to prevent future outbreaks like this from occurring,” BLM Colorado Acting Association State Director Ben Gruber said.

“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.”

The facility remains under a voluntary quarantine with no horses allowed to leave the premises until it is determined the animals are healthy and pose no risk.

“This unfortunate event is being taken very seriously by the Department of Corrections and the BLM,” said corrections Executive Director Dean Williams.

“We are working in coordination to mitigate the spread of the virus and identify and prevent any potential rise which could lead to future similar events.”

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