Hunters and others who spend time in the outdoors in northwest Oregon are asked to be on the lookout for elk hoof disease, a problem for southwest Washington’s elk that could also be affecting Oregon’s elk.
Elk hoof disease is a bacterial-associated syndrome causes severe lameness in elk. Elk with the disease have deformed and overgrown or broken sloughed hooves, abscesses in the hoof soles and chronic laminitis.
Report elk with hoof disease online at ODFW’s new elk hoof disease reporting page which can also be found off the Hunting Resources webpage under Hot Topics. If you can’t use the online reporting page, email WildlifeHealth@state.or.us or call 1-866-968-2600 with the information.
Elk hoof disease first appeared in southwest Washington elk herds between 2002-2005 and became more widespread in 2007-08. In some of the area’s elk herds, 20-90 percent of the animals are showing lameness.
ODFW wildlife veterinary staff and biologists are part of the working group investigating the disease in Washington. They are keeping a close eye on Oregon’s elk as well, particularly in northwest Oregon, as there is known interchange between Oregon and Washington elk across the Columbia River.
“We really appreciate hunters and anyone else who spends time in the outdoors being on the lookout for this disease,” says Colin Gillin, ODFW wildlife veterinarian. “This information will help us determine if the disease is becoming a threat to Oregon’s elk and work to limit its spread.”