Work underway on vaccine to control wild horse population

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Oct 01, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

DENVER — A partnership between the Colorado Horse Development Authority (CHDA) and the Morris Animal Foundation could result in a fertility vaccine meant to control the population of wild horses.

The Morris Animal Foundation is funding a study, which is being conducted by Colorado State University, to reduce wild horse communities.

Wild horse populations are reducing forage areas for native wildlife and domestic livestock. Wild horse gathers to reduce populations have resulted in injuries to both persons and horses.

Current contraceptives have limited effectiveness, as well. So, researchers are looking at a hormone contraceptive vaccine that would induce infertility in female horses. Once introduced, they will monitor the effect of the vaccine on reproductive and social behaviors in wild horses.

If results are positive, the vaccine could offer a means to control free-range horse populations on public lands.