“Strangles” Infection Spreads in Wild Horse and Burros at Litchfield Corrals


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has halted public visits and adoptions at its wild horse and burro corrals in Litchfield, California, due to an outbreak of the bacterial infection “strangles.” This bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract causes symptoms such as nasal discharge, fever, and swollen lymph nodes around the throat.

The infection has affected a small number of horses within a large pen. The facility will remain closed to the public for about 30 days. No animals will be accepted or released for adoption or sale until the infections subside and no additional cases are detected. The corral staff will restrict animal movement within the multi-pen facility to prevent further disease transmission.

According to Emily Ryan, the manager of the BLM Eagle Lake Field Office, “strangles” is highly contagious among horses, and closing the facility to the public is necessary to prevent accidental transmission of the infection to other horses. Affected horses will be isolated in a holding area until the disease runs its course, and BLM corral staff will work closely with a veterinarian to care for the horses and determine when it is safe to reopen the facility.

The horses and burros in the corrals will continue to receive their daily care and feeding, and the disease typically runs its course within two to four weeks.


Photo Courtesy: BLM Ca