Officials euthanize last 4 wild ponies with ‘swamp cancer’

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Saltwater Cowboys corral the herd of ponies toward the parade route after the Pony Swim in Chincoteague, Va., on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Every year, the first foal to come ashore is named King or Queen Neptune. (Alex Driehaus/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (AP) — Authorities have euthanized the last four wild ponies on a Virginia island that were diagnosed with a fungus-like disease known as “swamp cancer.”

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that a total of seven wild Chincoteague ponies have died since October. Officials announced the most recent deaths of four ponies on Friday.

Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company spokeswoman Denise Bowden said in a Facebook post that the ponies “received the very best care money could buy” before their caretakers decided to end their suffering.

“Swamp cancer” isn’t cancer, but rather pythiosis, caused by an organism similar to fungus. The disease leaves ponies with lesions on their bodies.

One of the ponies diagnosed with the disease died in October. Two others died earlier this month.

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