Wildlife Health Connections podcast

#12: Transmissible Treponemes: Studying Elk Hoof Disease Using a Captive Herd with Dr. Margaret Wild

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In Washington State, around the year 2008, reports of limping wild elk started to rise dramatically.

These elk had hooves that were completely abnormal looking. Some of the deformities looked so bad that it was hard to tell it was even a hoof. The elk looked like they had a claw or a slipper on their feet instead of a hoof.

And to complicate things, at the time wildlife managers still didn’t know exactly what caused this horrible elk hoof disease, or if it could spread from one infected elk to another.

In today’s episode, we get to hear all the details about how our guest Dr. Margaret Wild and her team at Washington State University designed and built a facility to study hoof disease in a captive elk herd.  By studying elk in a captive setting, this allowed Dr. Wild to set up carefully controlled studies to answer the key questions of 1.) what actually causes elk hoof disease 2.) can it be spread between elk and 3) what other factors such as nutrition or environmental conditions influence this disease process? 




To Learn More About Dr. Wild’s Elk Hoof Disease Research at Washington State University:




More Info on Elk Hoof Disease (Treponeme-Associated Hoof Disease):




Link to Craig Stephen et al Article- Using a Harm Reduction Approach in an Environmental Case Study of Fish and Wildlife Health:




We’re a podcast with a purpose! One of our main goals is to support all the individuals and organizations fighting the good fight and working to keep our wildlife and ecosystems healthy.  If you enjoyed this episode, please check out the following link to support the Elk Hoof Disease Research Fund:






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