The Bureau of Land Management’s Palomino Valley Center, 20 miles north of Sparks, Nev., will reopen to the public on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
The center was voluntarily closed on Sept. 26 because salmonella was
found in some of the wild horses from the Jackson Mountains Herd
Cultures done at that time identified salmonella as a factor complicating the horses’ recovery from drought conditions on the range.
Two, more recent rounds of cultures, taken two weeks apart, have not
isolated any more salmonella.
The 805 Jackson Mountains wild horses remaining at the facility are improving in body condition, but will be held at the facility a few more months before they are considered strong enough for movement to
other facilities or to be adopted.
Since early September when 983 horses from the Jackson Mountains
were brought to the facility, 159 animals have died or were euthanized
due to health problems related to their poor condition including the
inability to adapt to feed, diarrhea and pneumonia.
An additional 19 animals from the herd area died or were euthanized for other conditions such as deformities and old injuries, for a total loss of 178 animals.
The death losses decreased dramatically in early October and have
remained low for the past month.
During that time the corrals have been cleaned and common areas, chutes, feeders, gates and waterers have been cleaned and disinfected.
On the advice of the Washoe County Public Health Department, the manure from the corrals will be composted on site for 30 days and then disposed of in the county landfill.
The voluntary movement restriction, closure and other safety measures were put in place to safeguard the health and welfare of the animals at this and other BLM facilities as well as protect the public health since salmonella can be transmitted to people.
Employees followed bio-safety protocols including minimizing traffic in affected areas of the facility, disinfecting vehicles and equipment, wearing dedicated and protective clothing and frequent hand washing.
No employees became sick and at this time there is no indication there is still an increased risk of illness from salmonella.
The Jackson Mountain horses were gathered in late August and early
Drought-related loss of forage and a high horse population resulted in poor to extremely poor body condition for many of the horses.
Some of the animals were not able to transition to a diet of grass hay and became susceptible to the salmonella bacteria.
The salmonella did not spread to other non-Jackson horses in the facility.
Facility management worked closely with the BLM’s private veterinarian as well as the State Veterinarian, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Washoe County public health officials to address the problem.
The Palomino Valley facility encompasses 160 acres and can accommodate about 1,650 animals.
It is a national preparation and holding facility where animals gathered from pubic lands are vaccinated and freeze marked, and then shipped throughout the United States for adoption.
Call 866-4MUSTANGS for information on adopting a wild horse.