Colitis believed to be behind the deaths of 25 wild horse foals in captivity

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The deaths of 25 wild horse foals at the Bureau of Land Management’s Litchfield Corrals, near Susanville, California, early this month was most likely due to colitis – inflammation of the colon.

BLM spokesman Jeff Fontana said this week that preliminary results from veterinarians pointed to colitis.

Additional tests were ongoing and the BLM was awaiting results from additional blood and tissue samples that could pinpoint the cause of the colitis, he said.

The foals, all under six months old, were awaiting adoption when, on October 2, BLM wranglers noticed signs of a flu-like illness in some animals, all housed in a single pen. They consulted a vet and treated the symptoms, but the condition of the foals worsened over the week.

The foals affected by the illness were kept in an isolated pen.

There have been no signs of illness in the other 300 mustangs in the main pastures of the corrals, Fontana said.

The foals were born at the corrals to mares that had been gathered last September from the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory in the Modoc National Forest.

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