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Vaccine fights ‘swamp cancer’ among Chincoteague wild ponies

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Posted at 11:56 AM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 11:56:05-05

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. — The managers of a Virginia island’s herd of wild horses say a vaccination program to protect the ponies from a swamp disease that killed seven horses in 2018 is showing encouraging results.

The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company says it will continue giving the ponies yearly boosters to prevent Pythiosis, also called “swamp cancer.”

The disease comes from a fungus-like organism that causes painful lesions.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports cases are down from 2018, when seven horses died.

Just one died from what its owner suspected was the disease in 2019 and since then one unvaccinated horse contracted it but has since recovered.