Wild Horse Health On and Off the Range

Mustangs require care different from the average domestic saddle horse. Here’s how vets manage BLM horses’ health.
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This is a synopsis of a presentation to veterinarians during The American Mustang session at the 2014 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 6-10 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Feral mustangs managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) require care different from your average domestic saddle horse. To explain, Albert Kane, DVM, MPVM, PhD, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) veterinary epidemiologist, shared information about the veterinary management of BLM equids at the 2014 American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Convention, held Dec. 6-10 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The BLM is responsible for 49,000 horses and burros on 32 million acres of publically owned lands. The horses live on rangelands and in long- and short-term holding facilities. Additionally, the BLM performs postadoption compliance visits to monitor adopted animals’ health and welfare during the first year following adoption.

Overseeing these horses’ health and welfare requires employing trained personnel, including both veterinarians and wild horse and burro specialists. The BLM has developed an infrastructure of private practitioners, specialists, and wranglers to provide for the health of the animals under its jurisdiction, Kane explained. The BLM also relies on a partnership with APHIS to provide additional veterinary support and services

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Michelle Anderson is the former digital managing editor at The Horse. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She’s a Washington State University graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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