Horse Health

More Healthy Captured Wild Horses Become Sick While Under BLM’s “Care”

Story provided by the San Francisco Chronicle

Illness postpones Rock Springs wild horse adoption

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo.  — This week’s planned adoption of wild horses in Rock Springs is being postponed because a number of young horses are sick.

The Bureau of Land Management said that between 30 and 40 of the 100 horses under a year old were found to be infected with strangles during a pre-adoption checkup Wednesday. BLM veterinarian Paul Zancanella (ZAN’-ca-nel-ah) said it’s a bacterial infection roughly similar to strep throat in humans. Most horses recover from it.

The BLM says canceling the adoptions will reduce stress on them.

The High Desert District facility is home to about 800 wild horses overall. It’s been closed to the public since October so newly gathered horses could be evaluated and treated.

The adoption and planned school field trips have been rescheduled for March 6-9.

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40 replies »

  1. This is highly contagious and only humans can spread to horses through lack of cleaning, domestic horses can sneeze roughly 35 ft in any direction and contaminate anything from shoes to clothing that the person is wearing and then touches an uninfected horse like wrangler’s who frequent mustangs and bring in hay to feed them. Quarantine is needed until every horse that resides at the holding facility has been cleared or exposed and danger of passing or shedding has cleared. Three weeks should do it Quarantine that is.


    • Elizabeth,

      Your statement that only humans can pass this on through inadequate hygiene is somewhat misleading. The fact is that horses catch this from other horses if that horse is infected. In the part of the country where I live horses are vaccinated to prevent this and it is required for Interstate movement of horses.


      • Hoofhugs….humans spread this through domestic equines and infected equipment. to include trailers and their horses. No papers (health certificates, etc) and lack of enforcement by states and Feds also contribute. Gee…how is working for HCHS bound equines? NOT!

        It is not misleading what Ms Morgan states.

        And you are right…vaccinate. You know how much a vile of Strangles vaccine costs? I do. It is criminal (the cost).

        BLM wants them dead.


  2. It’s amazing they aren’t sicker after all the stress they’ve been put under! The BLM has taken away everything that they know and are familiar with, and dump them in corrals. The BLM has broken up their family units and expects them to be happy. Shame on the BLM!


  3. “The High Desert District facility is home to about 800 wild horses overall. It’s been closed to the public since October so newly gathered horses could be evaluated and treated.”

    Treated for what? Nearly 4 months to evaluate and treat. This is just cause to close the facility to the public?

    Something smells…what are they hiding?


    • I agree. Something smells. Didn’t they just go through an epidemic of Strangles. Every time I read one of these articles I feel like some Deja Vu coming on. Does anyone really know whats going on?


    • Yes, this is an ongoing problem at Rock Springs and the BLM did not give detailed reasons for the closure but said they were doing some needed work there.

      Just realize that your worst case scenarios can actually be happening now. Horses shot and buried. Nothing new to BLM. Trim the numbers and move more in. I don’t think they care if their buddy the kill buyers get their share or not.

      We need an advocate to be allowed in there. We need advocates in all the facilities ASAP to count and catalog the horses. It is time we know them all. On the range included.


  4. I so totally agree with the previous comments. It is very contagious and can cause havoc in your
    barn and herd. These ranglers travel here and there I’ll bet dealing with all kinds of horses. Not only that if one has a horse which is a carrier, you can infect many animals. It does sound very fishy that real Advocates from the public are kept from seeing them. Unreal…where are the assigned numbers? They can do any thing with the numbers and who would know. I oppose rounding them up, but wouldn’t be beneficial to try and help them with the gentling? Maybe we are going about this the wrong way. Insiders could be another way to find really what is going on. If such a thing were
    possible. We can’t give up now!


  5. Strangles is the new name for shipping fever. Shhipping fever is as recognized by horsemen and women as the horse itself. Shipping is stressful. UC Davis performed a shipping experiment gaugig the wind chill in certain tmeperatures and at certain speeds. The effect of separation on young horse but actually all horses is not new science.

    Stress is real to horses and manifests itself as shipping fever. It is remarkable that so many of the youngsters were transported. I wonder how long on the road and what happened to them in between sorting and “processing.”. Were the stud colts also gelded? Were the fillies spayed?

    What about the older horses? Where are they and what is their health status.

    You cannot make an out of the blue statement that says so much but hides so much.


    • When they load wild ones still steaming in the winter cold onto the trucks and then drive up to 80 to 90 MPH these poor horses are going to be sick. Stress from fear and exhaustion and even injury will cause the deaths of many. When Calico began and ran into JAnuary, 2010, we had as much information as we could get from almost half a dozen observers. We were all maxed out on that one with so many deaths. Many die within months of capture. I wish we had all the figures from our own people and not BLM. But that is what we want now, and it seems this is a necessity BLM can no longer deny us.


      • We can only hope that they will have to provide it; and I am sure if they tell the truth we will have much more anger and grief to bear. This is so out of control at this point that I wonder if they even know the truth. God Bless the Horses.


  6. Isnt it strange how strong & healthy horses “acquire” strangles? Its a lot tougher for them than strep throat! Abscesses can form – sometimes in their bodies – but I think the usual place is under their jaws. They fill with pus & eventually break – its VERY contagious. I think most people do vacinate for this disease. A barn will be quarantined if there is a breakout of strangles. So how are they protecting the rest of these horses????


  7. Yeah! What do you expect. Jerk them violently out of their natural homes and pen them up in crowded conditions so they don’t have adequate space between themselves and expose them to the aberrant so called civilized world and they get sick. This is so wrong! There’s a better way and it’s called Reserve Design for naturally adapted and self-stabilizing wild horse/burro populations! Ask me or see my book The Wild Horse Conspiracy available on


    • KNOWN FACT , whenever you pluck any living thing out of its environment for which it is accustomed toooo , you will cause all kinds of horrors for their health………………… I dont think for one minute the BLM doesnt wants that !!!!!! They JUST WANT THEM ALL DEAD !!!!!!! How much longer must we watch this without our total intervention??????? Every Mustang is endowed with purpose , the BLM is not !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  8. This doesn’t surprise me. Everything the BLM touches is sickened in the end.. We, the advocates must start a new strategy to show the United States citizens what a dispictable agency the BLM is and all who work for it. For the sake of our wild horses and burros we must find a way to save all these beautiful animals, as well as, all the domesticated horses that fall in the hands of killer buyers. This atroscity must end and SOON. Does anyone have any ideas?


      • I am ever so ready for this !!!!!!!!!!!I am so sick of the BLM and horrors………….for the Mustangs, they are messing with divine purpose , that they know nothing about !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like letting a layman do brain surgery on your child !!!!!! THE BLM MUST BE STOPPED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


      • Cowen: Give us your ideas. The sooner we get started, the sooner we will see the results and the BLM will be blowen away. Masses in numbers and determination will win I’m sure. Our equines are depending on us, so give us your ideas so we may start to see how will can work to the equines freedom and survival.


      • Lynne, is there a better way to communicate? Facebook? Email? Website?

        I think we tend to break off too much at one time and we need to back track a little bit before we can move forward. I’m not sure where your based out of or the herds you have in your area?

        We have a meeting with the BLM coming up soon. I will probably have a little more insight and input after that meeting.


      • Cowen, I live in Southern California. If you want to get in touch with me, you can reach me by e-mail at (the o in the e-mail address is the letter, not the number. If all the equine advocates in a given area could get together in individual territories then we might get started locally to then get together later in mass if possible. Of course, it’s going to take a lot of planning and organization, but I think we can do it for the horses sake. We must start doing things in mass to gain attraction and attention. We may have limited numbers that can travel because of financial reasons, but we should get started.


      • Lynne, I’m sorry, I just now saw this. Kind of strange, I just moved from Southern CA to Colorado to be closer to the wild horses and wolves and help the cause. My email is We have been gearing up to attend a meeting with the BLM on Saturday, I have a ton of stuff to get together before then, why I didn’t see this earlier. I will email you when I return. It is going to take a lot of work……….we have managed to get BLM to leave one of the herds alone here but another one is being “beat to death” right now and we are really trying to stop that. I think one of our problems is we are all strung out all over trying to take the “world” on rather then focusing on one at a time. A couple of small groups here in CO and WY picked 3 herds and have made a HUGE difference for them. We are in the process of using this idea for this herd and hoping we can make a difference. If you don’t hear from me after the weekend – kick me please!!


      • We need a large umbrella group. We need cooperation, organization and goals. We have yet to function on a national scale and sustain that function as a powerful body/lobby. We can do this if we want to. People here know I have been saying this a long time. What are we waiting for?


  9. The stress that’s put on these horses, with the roundups, then the breaking up of their family bands, then being put in holding pens is absolutely disgusting and horribly inhumane. Where they once ran free to roam, to this is unconscionable and if it doesn’t end soon we will lose these magnificent creatures forever. I’m sure there are commonsense solutions that could be made for their protection and freedom, but will the powers to be listen or even care? With all the facts that have been established with the inhumane treatment of our wild horses and burros, we can only hope that someone will take action to rectify this horrible wrong.


  10. oh god, more harm coming to our wild ones…this breaks my heart! i was heartened to learn that madeleine pickens’ mustang monument is opening to the public this spring and i read that there is already an ecosanctuary in wyoming…at least it’s a start in getting our precious equines out of the holding facilities! i will pray for the horses sick with strangles. it sounds god awful.


    • The Eco sanctuary in Wyoming has a herd of geldings. Very convenient for more shenanigans. It is a non reproducing herd from wild horses removed from Short Term Holding who were rounded up in the past couple years or more recently. They are not horses brought from the rolling grasslands in OK or KS. Long Term Facilities.

      Roundups in the future are to be done by local ranchers doing bait trapping. Diamond Complex is one of the last scheduled helicopter roundups. But I bet they will still schedule more. They are addicted to this form of harvesting.


  11. The “treatment,” of our precious horses. period.. is an outrage!!!!!! The BLM, shows no consideration for their well being!! To tear families apart, sinful!! One can only hope that the BLM and Ken Salazar, will be paid back, big time by God!!


  12. I visited this facility in October and took a few pictures. There was a lot of pretty hay and for the most part the horses looked good. My first thought though was you can’t keep any kind of animal in close quarters like that and so many of them without disease coming in. Sad….


  13. You end up blaming the BLM when it’s the individuals in the BLM who should be named and blamed and punished for the cruelity they did.


  14. grandmagregg says:

    January 22, 2013 at 10:14 PM (Edit)

    The wild horses and wild burros are not giving up and neither can we.

    Along with sending this article to government representatives and media and NAS and GAO [] below are some links to the BLM persons in charge of decision making. Although I realize that it is like asking the fox why he stole the hen from the hen house … I will be sending these BLM employees the article and asking the BLM to explain to me why they have allowed (encouraged and/or assisted) these illegal activities.

    (I am not naive … just stubborn)

    And if I can be so bold as to suggest:
    Ed Roberson
    Sally Spencer
    Lili Thomas
    Bea Wade
    Dean Bolstad
    Mike Pool


  15. In reading the FOIAs that EWA managed to get – what amazes me is how little (or none) common sense these dingalings have regarding the horses. “Will increasing the number of stallions make a difference in the herds????????????????” I read this before, but really – How dumb are they? Yeah, I know VERY VERY dumb.
    And yet, they are allowed to continue to do as they please on & on….
    There has to be a way to save whats left of the horses & burros. All of US are a lot smarter and aware than any of these greedy buzzards. We have so many great people who are working their tails off trying to stop this awful slaughter. Its been 41 years since Wild Horse Annie got people engaged enough to pass the law. The people (public) cant be so uncaring about the violence being perpetrated on these animals, or is it just that they dont know?


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