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Second Chincoteague Pony Dies of "Swamp Cancer"

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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.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.