SALISBURY, Md. – Chincoteague ponies are about to get treatment for swamp cancer.
The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, which manages the ponies, announced on Facebook this week that veterinary experts have planned the start of a multi-step vaccination process to battle the mysterious illness that took seven ponies' lives in 2018.
Swamp cancer is a funguslike disease that leaves ponies with lesions on their bodies. It can be very painful and can cost thousands of dollars to treat.
The Facebook post says that the town's veterinary team has worked with research veterinarian Richard Hansen to create a preventive vaccine. Hansen has approval to bring the vaccine and will be in Chincoteague for the spring roundup to start the first of three "phases" for the vaccination, according to the post.
The roundup on April 12 and 13 serves as an "overall health check" on the ponies, as well as to see any new foals that have been born.
After the roundup, it's not clear when the next phases will be.
"It’s going to be up to the vets schedules and pony committee schedules," the Facebook post reads. "Please don’t ask when, times or anything because we do not know and it will not be advertised.
"Just know that the process will be started and we are being proactive on this fungus."
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This article originally appeared on Salisbury Daily Times: Swamp cancer: Chincoteague ponies to get vaccine starting in April