“Gather Activity Updates”

I am having difficulty posting photos on the site. I will add pictures when I get to a new location. I can’t add tags to the blog today either. (I found a way around the WordPress glitch. Amazing what you can accomplish if you look for solutions. What a concept! Maybe you all can sense I’m a bit sarcastic today?) For Action Alerts please go to The Cloud Foundation. I will get them posted here soon, but some require immediate action.

Top photo taken last Sunday by Craig Downer

Bottom photo of the hospital pen at Fallon by me

The BLM has finally “caught up” on data entry. New Gather “update” here.

Included under today’s date is the first mention of Pigeon Fever. It also includes a link to a “report” on Pigeon Fever by Dr. Sanford.


It also lists another death for yesterday: One 12 year-old mare was euthanized for a spinal fracture due to collision with a fence while sorting.

And one on March 27th: One five year old stallion was found dead in general population and died of unknown causes.

Here is Sanford’s piece on Pigeon Fever.

Pigeon Fever at Indian Lakes Road Facility in Fallon, NV
Veterinarian report prepared by: Richard Sanford, DVM. NV# 565
Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis: bacteria which is found in the soil, is most likely transmitted by biting flies and has a very long incubation period (weeks – months). The disease has nothing to do with pigeons. The name comes from the large chest abscesses that some horses can get, which look like the large breast of a pigeon. (Also known as “Dryland Distemper” or “Pigeon Breast”)
Of the Calico Complex horses gathered from December 29, 2009 – February 4, 2010, approximately 2 percent of the 1,922 horses received at the facility showed clinical signs of healed chest abscesses from recent Pigeon Fever infection and .25 percent to .50 percent showed more recent or currently were infected with Pigeon Fever.
As of March 31, 2010, at the Indian Lakes Road facility, Pigeon Fever is still noted at the .25 percent to .50 percent rate, mostly found in the juvenile horses. The incidence of Pigeon Fever at the Indian Lakes Facility is at the same percentages that exist on the Calico Complex. The chest swellings range from golf ball size to grapefruit size. Fly season occurs at the end of summer. Therefore, it is expected that incidents of Pigeon Fever will decrease over time. Disease may or may not reoccur during the 2010 fly season based on environmental factors, such as temperatures, precipitation levels, soil conditions, fly conditions, etc. It is noted that California had severe Pigeon Fever conditions during the 2009 fly season. It is speculated those conditions apply to Nevada as well.
Horses housed at the Indian Lakes Road facility that have active Pigeon Fever are being monitored. No treatments have been administered to date. Abscesses have all resolved without treatment. No deaths or complications have been associated with infection. Based on 25 years of past experience with wild horses and burros, Pigeon Fever can exist in many of our wild herds depending on current year environmental conditions.

Now here are a few comments:

1. Let’s look at this first

Of the Calico Complex horses gathered from December 29, 2009 – February 4, 2010, approximately 2 percent of the 1,922 horses received at the facility showed clinical signs of healed chest abscesses from recent Pigeon Fever infection and .25 percent to .50 percent showed more recent or currently were infected with Pigeon Fever.

We can now ask “if” this was the case why would it not be part of the information posted on updates? And why was Don Glenn of the BLM completely unaware that Pigeon Fever was even present? Why were the horses from the areas where Pigeon Fever symptoms were present processed and moved into pens with horses from other areas?

2. This blanket statement may be a temporary current statement about the horses at the facility but it is NOT true about Pigeon Fever in general.

No deaths or complications have been associated with infection.

Death is rare, but can occur. Complications, including infection after rupture or from internal abscesses, are possible without proper care. There is also a death listed above that I’m sure “unknown cause” works fine without a necropsy in a diseased population….

3. All I need is this piece of the last statement:

Based on 25 years of past experience with wild horses and burros,

Based on 25 years with horses and burros you consider a feral invasive species. The entire program seems more designed like a “pest control” company than a branch of the US government tasked by Congress to protect “WILD” horses as integral to the American landscape. 25 years of Equine Veterinary experience (or even mucking a boarding barn!) would create a different situation where precautions to protect the horses and the facility itself would have occurred.

If you don’t remember Sanford here’s the “complete” vet report on “Hope.”

February 6, 2010

History and Report on Sloughed Hoof Colt

An eight month old colt arrived at the Indian Lakes Facility on about 1/20/2010

and was in very poor body condition and had sore feet.  It was placed in the sick pen area where treatment could be administered.  Over the next ten days, thecolt was treated with phenylbutazone (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), penicillin (an antibiotic) and foot bandages (one front foot and both hind feet) on three occasions before it was euthanized on 1/30/2010.

The colt alternately improved and regressed.  The colt would be standing while eating and drinking one day and not on the next day.  The colt never was able to actually gain weight, improve body condition or show increased energy.

Lameness improved with treatment but eventually the colt became too weak to stand.  Hoof wall separation occurred on the front foot and one hind foot.  The colt was euthanized for humane reasons.

The gather most likely caused the hoof trauma in this case.  However, the poor body condition and weakness was most likely present before the gather.

Richard Sanford, DVM

NV # 565

Link to previous post about the Vet report and time line of little “Hope.”

One of the things that frustrates me the most is that they want to talk the language of “management.” Then they claim superior management in statements like “In 25 years of wild horse and burro management…”

The common definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.



4 thoughts on ““Gather Activity Updates”

  1. So right, Laura. They ARE insane. I’ve got more experience with horses than Dr. Sanford, and I know I could do better. How could I do worse?

    • Laura Leigh says:

      I’m right there with you.
      If (and the “if” applies to their actions as well as the doubt I have that the horses arrived that way) right from the beginning they kept the horses together that had signs of pigeon fever and isolated them. Did NOT mix them with the rest of the population and run them through the same equipment as uninfected horses they would have demonstrated some actual “management.”

      Instead all they continue to demonstrate is the disregard they have for these animals.

      They have the space in that facility to have done it.
      Instead they have contaminated the facility for any other animal that has the misfortune of finding itself there… cattle included.

  2. Savewildhorses says:

    How can a 5 year old stallion just die? Was it pigeon fever? Why do they not investigate the cause of death?

    Are the foals in grave danger from this disease? I am concerned about their welfare.

    I also don’t understand why they are not trying to quarantine the spread of this. And I am sure the squeeze chutes and dirt are all horribly infected at this point. Why don’t they hire a vet who actually cares about the horses? Negligence springs to my mind.

  3. Anne says:

    Pigeon Fever can be transmitted by IM Vaccinations too; (Merck Vet. Manuel: america’s oldes and trusted Vet. manuel)

    so maybe Sanford is purposely transmitting the disease…doubt ful but one must not leave any stone unturned

    and also; the Green Hay does not match the Wild Hay of NV…

    The Wild Hay of Nevada is “brown; tan; olive; dark brown; dark green; dark yellow; many shades of Brown and Tan…

    However the Hay Doc Sand gives the Mustangs is GREEN…

    so in no way does the Bright Green Immature Grass Hay Doc Sand gives to the Mustangs (mixed with sand in sick pens)

    match the brown; tan; yellow and dark green wild Hay of NV.

    so this extreme alteration of Hay

    from a wild fiberous; woody; highly nutritious wild hay/grass
    dark brown in color

    to a “weak…bright green lawn type grass…is wrecking havoc on the Mustangs digestive system…

    The extreme difference between NATIVE PRAIRIE HAYS


    is ridiculous ! ! ! way too much of a biological and nutritional alteration suddenly for the Mustangs to adjust…

    IMO; Sanford gives the Mustangs wrong type of Hay as a way to “thin the herds…
    because he knows MANY of the Mustangs will not adjust…a.
    Sandford says: nevada has Overgrazed Grasslands….

    my commnet: funny; I don’t see ANY grasslands in Nevada!
    I see brush lands; sage land; native hay and dried grassland

    but i do not see field of grass in nevada so the point is;

    the Mustangs WERE NOT EATING GREEN GRASS HAY in the wild

    so why does the BLM give the Mustangs Green Grass Hay in the domestic setting

    dont’ they know new Hay has to be introduced gradually ?

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