The Bureau of Land Management is suspending public visits and adoptions from its wild horse and burro corrals in Litchfield after an outbreak of a bacterial infection known as “strangles” was detected in a small number of horses within a single large pen.
The facility will be closed to the public for an estimated 30 days, and no animals will be accepted into the facility or released for adoptions or sales until the infections subside and no additional cases are detected. Corral staff will limit movement of animals inside the multi pen facility.
“This disease is highly contagious among horses,” said Emily Ryan, manager of the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office which oversees the corrals. “Because it is so easily spread, we need to close the facility to the public to prevent people accidently spreading strangles to their own horses after visiting our corrals.”
Affected horses will be isolated in a large holding area at the corrals until the disease runs its course. The BLM corral staff will be consulting closely with a veterinarian in caring for the horses and determining when it is safe to reopen the corrals. Daily care and feeding of the horses and burros in the corrals will continue as normal.
Strangles is a bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract. It presents as nasal discharge, fever and swollen lymph nodes around the throat. In most cases, the disease runs its course in two to four weeks.