Elk Hoof Disease

  • ElkHerd
  • ElkHerd

Elk Hoof Disease


Elk hoof disease, or hoof rot, is an emerging disease of wild elk that has been detected in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The number of elk with abnormal hooves and lameness has increased dramatically in this region in the past decade. Although elk hoof disease is very likely caused by a combination of factors, spiral shaped Treponeme bacteria are routinely found in the foot infection.

This finding has resulted in the name Treponeme-associated hoof disease (TAHD). There is currently no way to treat the disease in wild elk, so as with most diseases in wildlife, prevention of spread is a key to management. Future management will be developed based on studies that are currently underway to better understand disease causes and the impact on elk survival.

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 work is part of ongoing programs at WSU studying emerging and existing infectious diseases of wildlife occurring where wildlife and domestic animals may affect one another.

For Media Inquiries and more information

Charlie Powell
509-335-7073 (phone)

Elk Hoof Disease Research Fund

The principal of this fund shall be used to support the College of Veterinary Medicine's elk hoof disease research and outreach program.

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