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Plea for treatment of wild horses in holding JOIN US

Infected yearling geldings

Infected yearling geldings

Call for Adequate Medical Care and Husbandry of BLM Captive Wild Horses

(Reno, NV) Wild Horse Education (WHE), a non-profit organization in the state of Nevada that tracks the condition of wild horses and burros on the range and in holding, has sent a request to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) asking that immediate medical care and adequate husbandry practices be given to wild horses currently held at a short-term holding facility in Nevada.

Three highly infectious conditions—strangles, papilloma virus, and ringworm—have been documented in the population currently housed at the BLM Palomino Valey Center (PVC) wild horse and burro holding facility north of Reno. Although none of the conditions require emergency response, the conditions do require attention. However, the horses have received no treatment for these conditions.

PVC declared the strangles virus infection at the facility and set up a quarantine period for the disease which is ending soon. Once the quarantine period ends, animals that test clear of shedding the virus will be shipped to events and other facilities around the nation. However, Wild Horse Education (WHE) has observed a continual problem with nasal discharge in the PVC horse population. There may be some other condition present and lifting the quarantine may be premature.

The papilloma virus has been spreading through the younger animals. Wild horses captured last summer, this past winter, and those born at the facility have been documented with the warts that the virus causes. Equine papilloma virus is a highly contagious viral disease, with transmission of the virus occurring via direct contact between horses, or as result of contact with infected equipment. Equines up to the age of 3 to 4 years, due to immature immune systems, are extremely susceptible to this disease; older equines are less susceptible, but are not completely free from risk. Once they get the disease warts can form often all over the nose and become bloody and oozing. Who will want to adopt a horse that looks like that, even if the condition is treatable?

Ringworm has plagued animals in this facility for years. Ringworm is not a worm but is caused by fungus. Ringworm fungi like to live on the warm, moist surface of your horses skin and hair. Without proper hygiene procedures ringworm can be transmitted quite easily to other hosts as it is not unique to the equine.

In addition horses’ hooves are not routinely trimmed; they are trimmed prior to adoption and otherwise their feet are neglected. Many horses have not been trimmed for over a year and are at risk of permanent lameness due to neglect.

The extreme neglect at this and other BLM holding facilities is not immediately life threatening but it makes the horses unlikely adoption candidates and they then become vulnerable to slaughter. Also, if these non-life-threatening viruses spread this quickly and completely, then a life-threatening disease could spread like wildfire and decimate the captive herds.

The problem is not with the personnel at the different facilities, who by the way have recently been cut back again, the problem is with the BLM national policy.

“Responsible practices on the range and in holding seem to be a low priority for an agency that spends the majority of it’s time issuing private profit permits to all the fast-tracked projects that reap millions off of public land,” stated Laura Leigh, President of Wild Horse Education “the very least we can do is immediately find the funding to give basic care to the wild horses in holding to protect them and enhance their chances of being adopted.”


CLICK HERE to see descriptions of conditions present currently and noted in the past.

CLICK HERE to see text of letter sent to BLM requesting funding and appropriate care



To add your name to the plea, and make a comment, fill out the below form and we will update you on progress and add your comment to follow up documentation that we will provide to BLM.

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