The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company has announced that Chincoteague ponies will begin the multi-round vaccination protocol for “swamp cancer.” Pythium insidiosum, a bacteria carried in water, causes pythiosis, a fungus-like infection that affects hooves and legs; the bacteria enter small cuts on horse's legs when they step into infected waters. The condition is extremely painful and fatal if not treated.
The Fire Company, which manages the ponies, has been attempting to treat ponies affected by the disease, but there is no cure for swamp cancer. Seven ponies were killed by the disease in 2018. The preventative vaccination protocol, created with research veterinarian Dr. Richard Hansen, has received approval and will begin during the Spring roundup, when the ponies receive and overall health wellness checks, and new foals are identified.
This vaccine is hoped to help the ponies, not take the pathogen out of the environment.
Read more at Delmarva Now.
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