For the first time, a relatively new disease, calledTreponema Associated Hoof Disease or TAHD (discovered in 2000), has been confirmed in an elk in Idaho. A call to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game confirmed the disease’s presence in Idaho. Although no pictures of the incident are currently available, the images below show examples of the disease discovered in elk populations in Washington and Oregon.

TAHD was first discovered in Washington elk populations in 2000 for the first time.

IDFG states in a press release that, “Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has established a research project at Washington State University to learn more about the TAHD and its effect on elk populations. The samples from Idaho were sent to WSU for definitive diagnosis and testing of TAHD.”

Cases of confirmed TAHD have shown up along the Idaho border, in Wallowa County, Oregon, as close as 27 miles as the crow flies, from Riggins, Idaho.

TAHD is caused by a spirochete bacterium that causes hoof abnormalities and lameness in elk. This is the same hoof disease that has been observed in elk in Washington and Oregon. While TAHD is not a bacteria associated with domestic livestock, Fish and Game is coordinating with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture on the issue.

Fish and Game will be increasing surveillance for TAHD in Idaho, and the department will be distributing more information to the public to enlist its help reporting elk that appear to have trouble walking, or that have odd-looking hooves. People can report incidents online  or call Fish and Game’s Wildlife Health Laboratory at (208) 939-9171. 

State departments of wildlife for Idaho, Washington and Oregon are enlisting the help of the public in identifying and reporting any cases of TAHD that they may have seen or come in contact with. Below is additional information on what you can do to help.

Fish and Wildlife departments in Idaho, Washington and Oregon are asking the public for help as citizen scientists in documenting elk with this contagious form of hoof disease that is spreading throughout herds. Please refer to your state’s information below to report observations of live elk, hunter-harvested or dead elk showing signs of elk hoof disease that may include lame or limping elk or elk with damaged, injured, missing or deformed hooves.

It may be important for a biologist or veterinarian to contact you for additional information, so please provide a phone number or email address. You may also submit photos or video of lame/limping elk.

If you harvest an elk or locate a dead animal with suspected hoof disease, please take the following steps:

  1. Remove and save the affected hoof/hooves in a plastic bag and place in a cool area for further evaluation by ODFW.
  2. Take digital photos of affected hooves.
  3. Use the buttons to the right to report in your specified state.

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