Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife


What causes Elk Hoof Disease?

Evidence to date points to a type of infectious bacteria (Treponema sp.) associated with hoof disease in domestic sheep and cattle. It is likely that these bacteria persist in moist soil. Additional testing is being done to further understand the cause.

There is no scientific evidence that herbicides, such as those used by timber companies, cause this disease, and no link has been made between herbicides and hoof disease in any species that we are aware of. The University of Alberta and the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement are examining characteristics of the habitat used by elk, including industrial timberlands in southwest Washington, which may add to our knowledge.

For more information, see the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/health/hoof_disease/.

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Last Updated
3rd of February, 2016