The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Fillmore Field Office and the Delta Wild Horse and Burro Facility in Mallard County, Utah, have postponed the scheduled November 1 adoption event due to an upper respiratory disease in some of the horses at the facility. The BLM tested individual animals and the diagnosis indicated that the horses were affected with Streptococcus equi or “strangles.”
The BLM has temporarily quarantined the animals from leaving the facility until determining that the disease has run its course and the horses are no longer showing clinical signs of disease.
BLM officials have notified the Utah Department of Agriculture and the Utah State Veterinarian about the outbreak. The BLM coordinated testing of the infected animals with the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
The Delta facility staff began seeing clinical signs of strangles on October 16 in a group of recently gathered horses and younger animals. No mortality has occurred from the outbreak.
The quarantine will delay the adoption of the highly sought after Onaqui wild horses that were scheduled for adoption on November 1.
The BLM has tentatively moved the adoption date to sometime in January 2020.
BLM reported earlier this year that it intended to gather horses in mid-September from the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA). The report stated that "the BLM will gather approximately 200 horses from state, private, U.S. Forest Service, and BLM lands. The appropriate management level for this HMA is 121-210 animals and the current population exceeds 510 (not including foals born in 2019)." The Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area is located about 40 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Information for this report was provided by the Equine Disease Communication Center.