BLM working to determine cause of 22 wild horse deaths

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Herald and News

SUSANVILLE, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management is working closely with veterinarians to determine the cause of death for 22 wild horse foals that became ill this past week, while housed at the BLM’s Litchfield Corrals near Susanville, according to a news release.

The illness has affected only the foals that had been isolated in a single pen. There have been no signs of illness in the rest of the corral population of about 300 horses.

“Our contract veterinarian has collected blood and tissue samples that are now being analyzed,” said BLM Northern California District Manager Alan Bittner. “We hope to have the test results soon.”

Wranglers at the corrals first noticed signs of flu-like illness Monday, Oct 2, in a pen of 4- to 5-month-old horses. The symptoms spread rapidly through the pen and foals began dying later that week. The BLM halted adoptions of the foals when the illness was detected.

The affected foals were born at the corrals to mares that had been gathered last September from the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory on the Modoc National Forest.