Elk hoof disease now found in Idaho

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BOISE, Idaho (AP/KIFI) - Officials say a disease that afflicts elk and leaves the animal's hooves broken and deformed has been identified in Idaho for the first time.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says it has confirmed a case of treponema associated hoof disease in an animal killed by a hunter near White Bird last year.

It's a bacterial infection that was first identified in neighboring Washington in 2000 and later in northwest Oregon.

Fish and Game says "TAHD is caused by a spirochete bacterium that causes hoof abnormalities and lameness in elk."

Washington wildlife officials say the bacteria causes lesions or ulcers that can cause the hooves to become misshapen, broken or overgrown and lead to limping.

There's no sign that the bacteria affects meat or organs, and Idaho officials say there is no known risk to humans.

Fish and Game will be increasing surveillance for TAHD in Idaho, and the department will be distributing more information to the public to enlist its help reporting elk that appear to have trouble walking, or that have odd-looking hooves. You can report incidents online or call Fish and Game's Wildlife Health Laboratory at (208) 939-9171.

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