Session scheduled to discuss hoof disease in local elk

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LONGVIEW — A public meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Cowlitz Public Utility District, 961 12th Ave. to discuss hoof disease in Southwest Washington elk.

The two-hour session will include a brief presentation about elk hoof disease, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Lame elk or elk with overgrown or missing hooves in Southwest Washington have been observed with increasing frequency in the region.

At times, multiple animals in a group have been reported limping and showing signs of hoof disease, such as deformed hooves or club hooves. The condition has been observed in both male and female elk of various ages.

“The condition we are seeing in elk doesn’t appear to be an exact match with any of the known hoof diseases in domestic or wild animals, but it shares similarities with several diseases known in wildlife or livestock,” said Sandra Jonker, regional wildlife program manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

However, according to local veterinarians, the condition does not seem to be affecting domestic livestock in the area, she said.

The department is working with specialists in other natural-resource agencies and universities to gain a better understanding of what is causing the hoof disease.

The department is also providing an online reporting tool for citizens to report affected animals (http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/health/hoof_rot/).