Scientist Tasked with Finding Hoof Rot Facts

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Dr. Margaret Wild faces a tall task. She heads up efforts at Washington State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine to find answers behind the mysterious elk hoof disease. Once limited to western Washington, there are now cases reported in eastern Washington as well as northern Oregon and western Idaho.

“They get sores or ulcers on their foot and the hoof can become overgrown and even slough off completely. Of course that is really painful to the animal. Often people will see them limping and they can die,” Wild told KXLY-TV. “We need to be concerned about this now, getting it under control now and earlier in the disease is when we might actually be able to do something about it, as opposed to when it’s widespread and having population level effects. At that point it will be too late and much more difficult to control the disease.”

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation provided past grant funding to contribute to research. RMEF also provided a staff member that sat on the elk hoof disease public working group.

(Photo source: Washington State University)