Horse News

BLM Still Investigating Colorado Wild Horse Deaths

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Bureau of Land Management logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Information supplied by the HORSE via an edited Press Release

“The exact cause of the problem remains unknown…”

he Bureau of Land Management (BLM) continues to investigate the deaths of 19 wild horses at its Cañon City Wild Horse Inmate Program facility.

To date, 19 horses have died and 9 other horses have shown some signs of a neurologic problem causing weakness, incoordination (ataxia), or seizures. No animals have died since Dec. 4 and no new cases have been reported since Dec. 5.

Several horses that exhibited symptoms earlier in the week have shown marked improvement and now appear to be recovering. With just over 2,000 horses and 400 burros at the facility, the illness remains confined to just one pen containing 110 horses.

Although the exact cause of the problem remains unknown, the BLM is still working with local, state and federal veterinarians as well as pathologists at Colorado State University to diagnose the illness. Six animals have been necropsied, but so far, the general results of those examinations have been inconclusive. Samples taken from animals at the facility and from those animals autopsied are still being examined.

The pattern of the cases so far suggests it is not an infectious or contagious disease, but that possibility along with the possibility that weeds or other toxins could have been accidently ingested along with hay are being investigated. Laboratory testing is expected to continue through next week when the BLM and animal health officials will revisit the situation and decide the best course of action to protect the health and well-being of the wild horses and burros.

The BLM will release additional information as it becomes available.

26 replies »

  1. I demand answers from BLM for 5+ dead horses at Owyhee. Barbaric Roundup Practices. 1700+ many more sold to slaughter. 19 BLM horses drop dead over night at Canyon City. Others sick. Demand answers on FB on Twitter in the media. This will get the public with us. Already working. Salazar trying to little too late.


  2. The preliminary necropsy results should have been available the NEXT DAY (a week ago).

    “Preliminary necropsy results are often available by telephone consultation with the duty pathologist by the NEXT DAY. Final necropsy results, to include histopathology and related tests require 15 to 20 working days.”

    What are they covering up this time and who checked on them the day before and apparently saw no illness? Wouldn’t it have to be something powerful to kill a mature horse in one day?


  3. Could it be that they had their natural feed taken from them, were run down, were overheated and then subjected to temperature variations? Maybe it was the result of the roundup? Let’s see what the BLM spins out of this one.


  4. EPM or EHV-1? I don’t know if EPM is contagious. Sounds a bit like it. But who knows? BLM would just as soon be rid of all the horses and burros as lok at them, much less figure care and management. And care and management skills are dismal at best with BLM.


  5. *sigh* Just more misery for these poor animals. It’s hard to imagine 2000 horses in prison. I wonder if they would have been better off running free, perhaps dying in a natural way on their home range. It will be interesting to read the BLM report on these deaths. All of them are “gather-related”….no way around that.


    • I have it on good authority from a wild horse that if given their druthers, which of course they rarely are, most horses would prefer to die on the range just as we humans if we had our choice would choose to pass on to the other side at home surrounded by our friends or family, or at the very least, surrounded by our “things” To a horse, that might be under a favorite tree or on the top of a hill above a valley where she and her herd once played, grazed, and were part of a family. A domestic horse would just as soon lie down in his stall some sunny morning, close his eyes, and cross the rainbow bridge in his own time.


  6. BLM still investigating, hmm,( bet they are not). Taking wild horses away from their natural environment then placing them where they don’t belong is a not good nor safe. No safety anywhere for the horse.

    There will be no truthful report on this incident.


  7. I am sooooo sick of BLM and high dollar cattle ranchers who can’t afford their own grazing for for their cattle!!!!! Now hundreds of wild horses have to suffer because of their stupidity and selfishness!!! maybe they should cut back on their herds if they don’t have the space or the money for them!!!! Wake Up BLM!!!!!!!


    • It sounds more like these horses had some type of poison in their hay or food. It was tainted somehow. Could be pesticide of some sort. When I work around plants pesticides are used frequently. Maybe some inmate was spraying around the hay that these wild horses were about to ingest. The inmates are not trained on this stuff. As a Horticulturalist and being around plants, I know it is easy to spray chemicals in a given area.
      We must be so careful when spraying chemicals or any kind anywhere. I have a suspicion these wild horses were poisoned somehow. There must be traces of something.
      Someone mentioned blood blisters in the hay. Even bad, moldy hay will cause trauma in horses. The wild horses had a completely different diet on the range. You feed them the wrong stuff, sickness prevails in one way or another. RIP all of our beloved wild horses. Awful way to go. If they were left on the range they would still be alive today. Put our wild horses back on the range where they belong now. Stop the BLM round ups please stop them. You have no place to put anymore of our precious wild horses. Leave them back on the ranges with their families intact.


  8. It is time to stop confining our wild horses. They need to run and be free without any chains binding them. They are better off out in the wild and they know how to survive. Now you take away their survival instincts and they can’t survive out in the wild or have to learn all over again. Leave them alone to be free to roam. It is time to stop the round ups. Round ups are a death warrant for our wild horses. Let them roam and give them space to be free. Please BLM stop your horrific practice of round ups now. I am to tired of the killing and trauma of our horse families. They cannot recover from this brutal method and our stallions are only trying to protect their mares. Stallions will go to any length to protect their families. We must protect them all before they are all killed one way or another. From one prison to another behind fences and hateful inmates who really don’t care how they treat our horses. Our wild horses kick ass and know how to survive. Not behind prison walls and fences. NO boundaries, NO respect for our horses. What stupid person came up with this idea of having inmates train our wild horses. They don’t have the skills and training to do so. Who makes you think they are treated any better behind prison walls.
    Inmates are behind bars for various things. Stop putting our wild horses in prison. Let them run free as they were meant to do. Let them go back home to where they belong now. Stop the roundups BLM sucks.


  9. We have often feared this sort of thing could happen. BLM, after all, hauls horses off the range and over state lines, admittedly! without Coggins tests. But whatever this is that is killing horses at Canon City the least these selfish conflict of interest lackies could do is inform the public what they DO know and keep us abreast.

    How many more horses have become sick? What the hell is going on, BLM!?


  10. More deception , more lies from the BLM , thats what we will get , the longer it takes them to report , the more covering up they will be doing, just wish the BLM would just leave our darn horses alone……..


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