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Can we give the elk antibiotic injections or medicated feed?
It’s important to recognize that there is no vaccine for this type of bacterial disease, either for livestock or for wildlife. The livestock industry has been looking for a way to prevent their animals from contracting the disease for more than 20 years without success. Some livestock producers bathe the hooves of infected sheep and cattle in an antibiotic solution, but these animals often become re-infected once they are put back out to pasture. Even if that were not the case, giving thousands of free-roaming elk daily footbaths is not a realistic solution.
WDFW continues to look into ways to limit the spread of hoof disease in Washington's elk herds and contain it wherever possible.