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Wapiti sick with a deformed hoof in Walla Walla County

Elk hoof disease was discovered in the Blue Mountains of Walla Walla County, according to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The crippling hoof disease has now been discovered in counties on both sides of Benton County.

The first cases on the east side of the Cascade Mountains were confirmed in the spring of 2018 at the western end of Klickitat County, which borders Benton County.

The new case found in Walla Walla County was in an elk shot on January 17 by a scavenger hunter in the Pikes Peak area. He noticed that the animals had deformed hooves and sent them to the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Resources of the state.

Since the early 2000s, Washington State had reported cases of hoof disease in western Washington. Cases have been confirmed in 14 counties, in addition to Oregon and Idaho.

Bacterial disease appears to be highly contagious and can spread from one animal to another or when elk leaves bacteria in moist soil in which other elk walk. There is currently no vaccine or proven method for treating the disease in the field.

It is not known to affect people.

Hunters and others who see elk that are limping or have abnormal hooves are asked to report them to bit.ly/elkhoof.

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