Officials closer to understanding disease afflicting horses

Officials closer to understanding disease afflicting horses
Waipio Valley residents are increasingly concerned as more wild horses die due to mysterious illness. (Image: Brandon Mock Chew)

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaii investigators are closing in on the cause of a mysterious disease linked to the deaths of about a dozen wild horses over past two months on the Big Island.

West Hawaii Today reports the state Department of Agriculture is receiving results from lab tests, helping investigators grasp a clearer picture of the symptoms.

The department says about 15 wild horses in Waipio Valley have been afflicted with the unidentified disorder that causes nerve damage. The symptoms first appear by altering the horses' gait, eventually making the animals unable to move and resulting in their deaths.

Jason Moniz, program manager of the department's Animal Disease Control Branch, says several tests are still pending, but the investigators have ruled out several possible causes.

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