Mystery disease kills 4 horses, sickens a dozen others at Hertford, NC stable

North Carolina

(Photo courtesy: New Hope Stables)

HERTFORD, N.C. (WAVY) — A horse stable in Hertford, North Carolina, is working to identify a mystery illness that has killed four of its horses and sickened 12 others.

New Hope Stables has been battling the unknown disease since Sept. 23. As of Wednesday, some horses were showing improvements while others were in critical condition.

The horses have tested negative for coronavirus, cryptosporidiosis, clostridium and salmonella. The necropsy on one horse’s body showed all negative results. The page wrote in a comment on one of its posts that “there was absolutely nothing that should have killed her. No signs of anything.”

Symptoms of the disease include diarrhea, fever, lethargy, bloating and colic.

The mystery began with a horse named Hidden Treasure on Sept. 23.

Hidden Treasure fell ill that morning. After initially treating her for colic, she was transferred the following morning to an emergency veterinary clinic in Smithfield, Virginia.

After realizing she was too sick to save, they euthanized her.

After returning from church Sunday, the stable found one horse lying down distressed. He had diarrhea and a high fever, and was clearly “in a great deal of pain.” Other horses were also acting unusual, and several were found to have diarrhea or fevers.

The horse found lying in the field was taken to an emergency vet.

A day later, all 15 horses at the stable were running a fever.

The stable implemented a stable-wide quarantine as the illness appeared to be viral in nature. No new horses came in, and none left except for medical treatment.

On Oct. 1, the stable reported that three of its horses had died in one day: Fancy, Koda and Dixie.

Since those horses died, the stable page has posted a few updates saying it’s found “a lot about what it is not.” The horses tested negative for coronavirus, cryptosporidiosis, clostridium and salmonella. Preliminary tests of the horses’ food didn’t reveal anything unusual. Testing for the water is still underway.

Two of the stable’s horses are still under observation at North Carolina State University. A few of the horses have IVs to keep them hydrated.

As of Wednesday, some horses’ conditions has been downgraded while others showed some signs of improvements.

The stable has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for the treatment and testing of all the horses. As of Wednesday night, the page had raised more than $33,000.

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