Deadly Equine Disease Kills horses in Colorado

CAÑON CITY, Colo. – Wild horses at the Wild Horse facility in Canon City have been infected with an unknown yet highly contagious and sometimes fatal disease. The BLM is working with local, state and federal officials to determine the exact cause of death of nearly 150 horses so far since the outbreak began April 23. An equine influenza is suspected to be the cause of the outbreak. The BLM will continue to post Situation Reports to track mortality rates.

May 9: The May 9 Situation Report is available with an additional 2 fatalities today.

May 8: The May 8 Situation Report is available with an additional 2 fatalities today.

May 7: The May 7 Situation Report is available with an additional 5 fatalities today.

May 6: The May 6 Situation Report is available with an addition 2 fatalities today.

May 5: The May 5 Situation Report is available with an additional 2 fatalities today. Additional culture testing has revealed bacterial pathogen presence along with equine influenza virus. Clinical evaluations and further DNA analysis is being completed to identify the strains of bacteria and virus involved in the outbreak.

May 4: The May 4 Situation Report is available with an additional 4 fatalities today. Wild horse vaccination guidelines are also available at the bottom of this section.

May 3: The May 3 Situation Report is available with an additional 4 fatalities today.

May 2: The May 2 Situation Report is available with an additional 2 fatalities today.

May 1: The May 1 Situation Report is available with an additional 11 fatalities today.

April 30: The April 30 Situation Report is available with an additional 4 fatalities today, bringing total deaths up to 106 horses.

April 29: The April 29 Situation Report is available with an additional 8 fatalities recorded today. An error occurred in the original count of fatalities and has been corrected in the numbers below; all totals have decreased by one.

April 28: The total number of fatalities has increased to 94. The BLM’s most recent April 28 Press Release is available. The veterinarian report and addendum are available for review. The April 28 Situation Report is also available.

April 27: The total number of fatalities has increased to 84.

April 26: The total number of fatalities has increased to 66.

April 25: A total of 56 horses have died. The BLM and its partners are continuing to monitor horses and identify the illness.

Diagnostic/Laboratory Results:
To date: pneumonia as described in PDF below.
initial EHV-1 PCR testing has been negative
additional respiratory PCR testing – pending
bacterial cultures – pending

Other important details to note:

  • this problem appeared to start shortly (5-10 days) after an initial group of about 50 of these horses received their first vaccinations and appeared initially to start in and be most severe in this same group of horses
  • the West Douglas horses were gathered and removed form the range after a large wildfire occurred in the area where they lived, this fire drove them into surrounding areas to escape the fire

Information taken from the Preliminary Site Visit / Outbreak Investigation Report dated 4/26 and updated 4/28/2022. Read the entire report here: https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/docs/2022-04/Canon%20City%20site%20visit_mortalityinvestigation4_26_22.pdf

The facility is now under a voluntary quarantine. There are currently 2,550 horses at Canon City. Horses gathered from the West Douglas area in fall 2021 are the most impacted.  

“We are working with local, state and federal officials to determine what is impacting horses in the facility and how we can respond as effectively as possible,” said Stephen Leonard, BLM Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Program Manager.

BLM Colorado will post additional information and updates on this outbreak at Colorado – Herd Management Areas | Bureau of Land Management (blm.gov)

Bees and Horses, How to Coexist

Bees and Horses - How to CoExist
@unaschade

My neighbor’s bees think my yard is cooler. I wish they didn’t. #BuzzOff #Bees #BloomAlready #Bloom

♬ Bees – Blake Rules & Netherfriends

If you are struggling with bees bothering your horses this spring like I am, I feel your frustration! Nothing has bloomed yet, we are having loads of warm days in between the snowstorms, and the bees are HUNGRY AND CONFUSED! My issues with the bees started extra early this year, in late February.

Not to mention the fact beekeeping has become really trendy, but unfortunately, a lot of these beeks (bee geeks, yes it’s a term LOL) are not putting out adequate food on these weird in-between storm warm days. Not to mention the fact that, in my experience, many of these beeks are quick to tear you apart without offering any help, and without bothering to read your plight for help in saying you are trying to SAVE the bees. NOT harm them.

I happen to live on the border of a neighborhood with hundreds of homes. And in those hundreds of homes, there are a LOAD of beeks (30+ hives nearby that I know of). Which in turn means there are THOUSANDS of bees that are hungry and confused coming to my place. Why, you ask? I put out hay for the horses. You know, because horses eat hay.

Normally hay is NOT a food for bees (it is typically pollinated by wind). But since it is the only green thing around, smells lovely, and has pollen: it is like crack for these poor bees. In turn, this means the hay is being swarmed and my horses cannot eat for a good portion of the day once it gets above 45° and is daylight. To say I am upset is a HUGE UNDERSTATEMENT, especially considering I have late-term pregnancy mares on our place.

I understand the benefit of bees to our planet. I understand the plight bees face. But my horses also deserve to eat. And if this were any other manner of livestock, animal control wouldn’t tolerate the animals wandering due to the owners not putting out food.

So with all that being said, I have tried a LOT of ways to draw the bees away from the hay/horses without killing them. I will touch on them all below so you can hopefully avoid wasting money on ineffective methods. These tips have come from beeks, google searches, the Colorado State Beeker Association, and other various resources.

Sugar Water

1 part granulated sugar, 1 part water. Placed in a shallow dish with little rocks or sticks in it so the bees won’t drown.

This is what all the local beeks that I know (and online) recommended to me. I have had maybe one singular bee partake in my sugar water. I think this is because most of the beeks around me do put this out regularly for their bees and this is NOT what they are interested in coming to my place for.

Water

Literally just water. Placed in a shallow dish with little rocks or sticks in it so the bees won’t drown.

I had zero faith this would work since there were no bees going to my water tanks. But I tried it. As expected it did not work.

Brown Sugar Water

1 part brown sugar, 1 part water. Placed in a shallow dish with little rocks or sticks in it so the bees won’t drown.

No one recommended this. It was an attempt to grasp at straws thinking maybe this is something new they normally do not get. So they might actually find it interesting. They did not.

Pollen Patties

It is a sticky playdough-y patty of pollen (REALLY sticky). Can be ordered on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3D10yxQ

I gave this a try because I had the same issue last year, albeit not as bad. And it didn’t start until April last year. Last year this worked beautifully. I threw 1/2 of it at one corner of the property and the other half at the other corner (bees only venture to me from one side). Never had another bee bother the horses.

This year it did not work as well. The bees decimated it within a couple of hours, and it wasn’t easy enough for mass quantities of bees to get. So the hay was still an interest.

Loose Pollen/Protein Powder

It is a loose powder/small granule bee feed that you sprinkle in an area you want the bees to feed from. It works best if it is sprinkled over a bit of hay or something the bees can crawl around on and coat themselves without getting stuck. Can be ordered on Amazon: https://amzn.to/37S1Nnw

As soon as I opened the container I was swarmed. It was pretty insane. This is by far the most effective of things I have tried so far. See my GIF below (and the video above).

Things to note: it drew even MORE bees over to my place than were coming there for just the hay. I assume the scout bees were like *jackpot* and brought all their friends. It did significantly reduce the bees on the horse’s hay, although it didn’t completely remedy the issue (probably reduced by 50%).

I have an email in to the Douglas County Extension to see if they have any more insight beyond what I have tried. I also have a few more recommendations to try, but since the weather isn’t the greatest right now, there are no bees here. Once I can test them out I will update this post!

Remember the bees are out on days when it is above 45° and during daylight hours. So plan ahead and have your bee feeding stations out before that happens, so that they find the bee feed instead of your horses/hay.

Colorado Equine Health Alert : Equine Influenza

A horse at a private facility in Jefferson County started displaying signs of Equine Influenza on 2/20/2022 and was confirmed to be affected by the disease by an attending veterinarian. At this time only 1 horse is affected although 6 at the facility have been exposed.

The horse was purchased at a sale and developed clinical signs within 24 hours. For more information about Equine Influenza go to: Equine Influenza factsheet. 

Get more infomration on this event and other outbreaks at EDCC here: https://equinediseasecc.org/alerts

Inexpensive Nanny Cams for your Horses!

Wireless Farm Camera System

I’ve been looking for a way to monitor my horses in their paddocks for a while. The issue I ran into is there isn’t electricity for the cameras, and the WiFi signal isn’t great outside (we don’t have a booster or anything outside).

We have a Blink system on our house so I really hoped that would work – but the range just wasn’t strong enough for those cameras central box to connect to. Then I stumbled on these Zeeporte Cameras for under $50. I figured I would order one and give it a shot. Y’all – I am blown away.

After doing a trial with that one camera for 5 days, I ordered 3 more (plus the appropriate SD cards for all 4).

Not only do they work, and work WELL off of only my in-home WiFi router, but they have a ton of great features! Watch the video below for unboxing, setup, and use of the system.

My Favorite Features:

  • Rechargeable Battery Operated (or you can set them up with a solar panel charger to keep them powered 24/7)
  • Free monitoring app “Adorcam” (no subscription required) Google Link and Apple Link
  • No central box they need to connect to, just WiFi and the app
  • Easy to setup, mount, and adjust
  • Loads of settings to customize
  • Easy to share individual or all cameras, and the option to share with admin or guest permissions
  • Ability to talk to whomever is on the other side of the live view
  • Motion detection that can be turned on/off, as well as sensitivity settings
  • Great picture in daylight or nighttime
  • SD card storage to save any motion events and the ability to rewatch anytime
  • Customizable notification settings
  • Great battery life
  • Works in all weather
  • Great WiFi range (my furthest camera is ~200ft from the router with walls in between)

I’ve had the system for about 2 weeks now, and we have had rain, freezing rain, snow, and 100mph winds since I’ve had the cameras installed! They haven’t let me down once. I am truly loving the ability to check on the horses no matter where I am, what time of day it is, or what the weather is like (without having to go outside or even get out of bed LOL).

Product Links:
ZeePorte Camera: https://amzn.to/32FiJLR
ZeePorte Camera with Solar Panel: https://amzn.to/3qO0Tho
Single Solar Panel: https://amzn.to/3mV6uSe
2 Pack Solar Panel: https://amzn.to/3mPCE1u
128GB Micro SD Card: https://amzn.to/3ESIcOC
256GB Micro SD Card: https://amzn.to/3JCUf6i

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