WDFW finds elk hoof disease in eastern Washington, plans to euth - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

WDFW finds elk hoof disease in eastern Washington, plans to euthanize elk to contain its spread

Posted: Updated:
wdfw.wa.gov wdfw.wa.gov
OLYMPIA, Wash. -

For the first time, state wildlife managers have found elk on the east side of the Cascade Range infected with a crippling hoof disease that has spread to 11 counties in western Washington over the past decade.

Lab results from a deformed hoof and direct observations of elk walking with a profound limp in the Trout Lake Valley of Klickitat County provide clear evidence that the disease has spread to that area, said Eric Gardner, head of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) wildlife program.

“This is a huge concern for us and a lot of other people,” Gardner said. “This is a terrible disease and there’s no vaccine to prevent it and no proven options for treating free-ranging elk in the field.”

In response, state wildlife managers are preparing to euthanize any elk showing signs of the disease near the small town of Trout Lake, about 60 miles northeast of Vancouver. The goal is to stop it from spreading farther into eastern Washington, Gardner said.

“This is the first time the department has tried to stop the advance of the disease by removing affected elk,” said Kyle Garrison, WDFW hoof disease coordinator. “There’s no guarantee of success, but we believe a rapid response might contain this outbreak given the isolation of Trout Lake and the low prevalence of elk showing symptoms of the disease.”

He said the department plans to remove up to 20 symptomatic elk from the area in May. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which supports the proposed action, has pledged $2,000 to help defray the department’s costs.

Garrison and other WDFW wildlife managers will discuss the department’s plans at a public meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 3, at the WDFW regional office at 5525 S. 11th St. in Ridgefield.

The first sign that the infectious disease had spread so far east came April 4, when a resident of Trout Lake sent the department a deformed hoof from an elk killed in a vehicle collision near his home, Garrison said.

On April 17, a WDFW staff team searched the area for other elk that might have been infected. They observed at least seven elk walking with a pronounced limp – a common symptom of the disease – and shot one limping animal to obtain hoof samples for testing.

Tests at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the USDA National Animal Disease Center confirmed both elk had hoof disease, Gardner said.

“We need to act quickly if we hope to get ahead of this situation,” Garrison said. “Elk in lowland areas begin to disperse into summer grazing areas by the end of May.”

WDFW staff met this week with local landowners to discuss the upcoming action and to gain permission to enter their property, Garrison said. The department plans to contract with USDA Wildlife Services to euthanize symptomatic elk, and Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine will test tissue samples.

“The college is cooperating with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and other agencies in accordance with direction from the Washington Legislature to research elk hoof disease,” said Dean Bryan Slinker. WSU pathologists will conduct post-mortem examinations of the euthanized elk and will collect as many tissue samples as possible, he said.

For the past decade, WDFW has worked with scientists, veterinarians, outdoor organizations, tribal governments and others to diagnose and manage the disease.

Key findings include:

  • Wildlife managers believe elk carry the disease on their hooves and transport it to other areas. Once the disease becomes established in an elk population, it is extremely difficult to manage.

  • The disease appears to be highly infectious among elk, but there is no evidence that it affects humans. The disease can affect any hoof in any elk, young or old, male or female.

  • Tests show the disease is limited to animals' hooves, and does not affect their meat or organs. If the meat looks normal and if hunters harvest, process and cook it practicing good hygiene, it is probably safe to eat. 

For more information about treponeme-associated hoof disease in Washington state, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/health/hoof_disease/

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Florida mom blames teen's death on confusing packaging for peanut cookies

    Florida mom blames teen's death on confusing packaging for peanut cookies

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 1:05 PM EDT2018-07-17 17:05:08 GMT

    A Florida mother blames the death of her 15-year-old daughter on what she calls confusing packaging for Reese's Chips Ahoy cookies.    Kelli Travers-Stafford says her daughter Alexi mistakenly ate one of the cookies at a friend's house despite her peanut allergy, because the top of the familiar red packaging was peeled back, hiding the Reese's label.  

    >>

    A Florida mother blames the death of her 15-year-old daughter on what she calls confusing packaging for Reese's Chips Ahoy cookies.    Kelli Travers-Stafford says her daughter Alexi mistakenly ate one of the cookies at a friend's house despite her peanut allergy, because the top of the familiar red packaging was peeled back, hiding the Reese's label.  

    >>
  • Spokane Valley massage parlor under investigation for sex trafficking

    Spokane Valley massage parlor under investigation for sex trafficking

    Monday, July 16 2018 9:43 PM EDT2018-07-17 01:43:51 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - The Washington State Patrol is investigating a Spokane Valley massage parlor for sex trafficking and prostitution. According to court documents, several men contacted authorities about the parlor, Space Oil Massage, and told them that the women who worked there asked them in private to call 911 because they were being forced to perform sex acts against their will.

    >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - The Washington State Patrol is investigating a Spokane Valley massage parlor for sex trafficking and prostitution. According to court documents, several men contacted authorities about the parlor, Space Oil Massage, and told them that the women who worked there asked them in private to call 911 because they were being forced to perform sex acts against their will.

    >>
  • Man who was hitting woman dies after witnesses intervene

    Man who was hitting woman dies after witnesses intervene

    Monday, July 16 2018 6:58 PM EDT2018-07-16 22:58:35 GMT

    YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - Police say a man who was assaulting a woman in Yakima is dead after he was struck with a baton or baseball bat as witnesses intervened.    Authorities say the fight happened late Sunday night outside the Connections Transitional Apartments. Officers arrived to find a 57-year-old man who lived at the complex sitting outside with a head injury. He died at a hospital.

    >>

    YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - Police say a man who was assaulting a woman in Yakima is dead after he was struck with a baton or baseball bat as witnesses intervened.    Authorities say the fight happened late Sunday night outside the Connections Transitional Apartments. Officers arrived to find a 57-year-old man who lived at the complex sitting outside with a head injury. He died at a hospital.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Level 3 evacuations in place for large brush fire burning near Upriver Drive; One home already lost

    Level 3 evacuations in place for large brush fire burning near Upriver Drive; One home already lost

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 9:09 PM EDT2018-07-18 01:09:36 GMT

    Fire crews are battling a large brush fire near Upriver Drive. The fire near Felts Field forced Level 3 evacuations for people South of Valley Springs, East of Minnehaha and north of Upriver. KHQ has learned one home has been lost, while another is involved. This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is available.

    >>

    Fire crews are battling a large brush fire near Upriver Drive. The fire near Felts Field forced Level 3 evacuations for people South of Valley Springs, East of Minnehaha and north of Upriver. KHQ has learned one home has been lost, while another is involved. This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is available.

    >>
  • JBS USA suspends shipments from Kentucky farm after video

    JBS USA suspends shipments from Kentucky farm after video

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 7:24 PM EDT2018-07-17 23:24:47 GMT
    Photo: Mercy for AnimalsPhoto: Mercy for Animals

    DENVER (AP) - JBS USA, the U.S. branch of the world's largest meat producer, says it has suspended shipments from a pig farm where workers were shown hitting, kicking and throwing pigs on undercover video. The Colorado-based company said it made the decision based on an initial review of the Mercy for Animals video at a Tosh Farms site in Simpson County, Kentucky, and will investigate the allegations.   

    >>

    DENVER (AP) - JBS USA, the U.S. branch of the world's largest meat producer, says it has suspended shipments from a pig farm where workers were shown hitting, kicking and throwing pigs on undercover video. The Colorado-based company said it made the decision based on an initial review of the Mercy for Animals video at a Tosh Farms site in Simpson County, Kentucky, and will investigate the allegations.   

    >>
  • Medicaid expansion initiative qualifies for Idaho ballot

    Medicaid expansion initiative qualifies for Idaho ballot

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 7:05 PM EDT2018-07-17 23:05:44 GMT

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A Medicaid expansion proposal has received enough signatures and will be on the November ballot. Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney on Tuesday said more than 56,000 valid signatures have been counted. The signatures include at least 6 percent of the registered voters in at least 18 of Idaho's 35 legislative districts.    

    >>

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A Medicaid expansion proposal has received enough signatures and will be on the November ballot. Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney on Tuesday said more than 56,000 valid signatures have been counted. The signatures include at least 6 percent of the registered voters in at least 18 of Idaho's 35 legislative districts.    

    >>