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‘Swamp cancer’ kills 3rd island pony this year in Virginia

December 17, 2018

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (AP) — Another wild pony on a Virginia island has died of a disease known as “swamp cancer.”

News outlets report the fire company that maintains the wild Chincoteague ponies on the island of the same name says Lyra is the third pony to die from the disease this year, and the second this month. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company post says the 13-year-old mare was put down after battling the disease the longest.

“Swamp cancer” isn’t cancer, but rather pythiosis, caused by an organism similar to fungus.

Four horses diagnosed with the disease are still alive, and the fire company says a new drug that could provide hope is on its way to the island.

Following the deaths of months-old Rain Dancer and 5-year-old Essie, the herd added three mares this month.

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