Elk Hoof Disease
Elk Hoof Disease is an emerging infectious disease of wild elk populations in the Pacific Northwest. The number of elk with deformed, broken, or missing hooves has increased dramatically in this region in the past decade.
Although elk hoof disease is very likely caused by a combination of many factors, the disease is strongly associated with Treponeme bacteria. This same spiral-shaped bacteria is known to cause a similar disease called digital dermatitis in cattle, sheep and goats.
In 2017, the Washington State Legislature fully funded ($3 million) and mandated Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine as the state lead in developing a program to monitor and assess causes of and potential solutions for elk hoof disease. The new program will be incorporated into ongoing programs studying emerging and existing infectious diseases of wildlife occurring where wildlife and domestic animals may affect one another. The university expects to investigate ecological systems that influence the risk of emerging diseases occurring in wildlife, domestic animals, and humans
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