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‘Swamp cancer’ kills 2nd island pony this year in Virginia

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (AP) — The fire company that maintains the wild Chincoteague ponies on the island of the same name says a second pony has died of a disease named “swamp cancer.”

The Daily Times of Salisbury cites a release from the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company that says Rain Dancer died Monday. Her death comes just over a month after 5-year-old Essie died after surgery, as her infection was “too far gone.”

“Swamp cancer” isn’t cancer, but rather pythiosis, caused by an organism similar to fungus.

Rain Dancer was less than a year old. She was first seen in late June.

Last week, the fire company said the ponies’ conditions had improved a lot, but warned that they weren’t out of the woods yet.

In all, seven ponies were originally affected.

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