Chincoteague Officials Test Vaccine for “Swamp Cancer” in Horses

The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company says they are continuing to be plagued by Pythiosis, more commonly known as “Swamp Cancer,” which is impacting the Island’s robust horse population.

Officials say the vaccination reports are encouraging but that they will need to continue aggressive vaccinations over the next two to three years to determine if the vaccine is an effective tool and an environmentally sound practice. Denise Bowden, Public Relations Officer with the CVFC said “We, along with the team of vets are cautiously optimistic and will continue yearly boosters.” She said one pony that wasn’t vaccinated contracted the disease but it was discovered early and immunotherapy treatment began immediately. That pony has since recovered and is doing well.

During the upcoming spring round up, screenings will be done along with blood samples to test for the disease. Dr. Richard Hansen helped develop the vaccine.