September 10, 2012

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


Unexplained Hoof Disease Spreads Quickly In Washington Elk

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking for help gathering clues about a hoof disease affecting elk in southwest Washington. Veterinarians with the wildlife agency say the disease, which causes severe hoof deformity, has spread rapidly.

It began with a few isolated cases and is now common in herds across the region, from Vancouver to the foothills of Mount St. Helens. Hunters first spotted elk limping near Longview Washington in the 1990s. They reported the animals’ hooves were deformed or missing.

... Kristin Mansfield, a veterinarian with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, says the disease hasn’t caused a decline in Washington’s elk population yet, but it may if it continues to spread to new herds.

Mansfield says the disease doesn’t match any other reports of elk maladies in the United States. Forms of hoof rot do appear occasionally in Wyoming’s populations of elk that congregate around feeding sites. Mansfield says those reports of hoof disease are limited to winter and to a few individual animals.

Oregon Public Boardcasting -
06 Sep 2012
A Templeton
Location: Mount St. Helens, Washington, USA

Climate could increase flu among wild birds

Climate change could cause an increased risk of avian influenza transmissions among wild birds, say scientists.

Population ecologists Pejman Rohani and Victoria Brown at the University of Michigan used a mathematical model to explore the consequences of altered interactions between an important species of migratory shorebird and horseshoe crabs at Delaware Bay as a result of climate change.

They found that climate change could upset the carefully choreographed interactions between ruddy turnstone shorebirds and the horseshoe crabs that provide the bulk of their food during the birds’ annual stopover at Delaware Bay, a major estuary of the Delaware River bordered by New Jersey to the north and Delaware to the south.

Climate change-caused disruptions to the well-timed interplay between the birds and crabs could lead to an increase in the avian influenza infection rate among ruddy turnstones and resident ducks of Delaware Bay, the researchers found.
Futurity -
04 Sep 2012

Journal Article Cites
VL Brown and P Rohani. The consequences of climate change at an avian influenza ‘hotspots'. Biology Letters. 2012; [Epub 29 Aug 2012]

Waterfowl disease prompts DNR to close islands as hunting begins

Detection of a disease that strikes various waterfowl has prompted the closure of islands in two southern Minnesota lakes, officials announced Friday.

The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is closing the islands in Minnesota Lake, near Mankato, and Pigeon Lake, west of the Twin Cities near Dassel, to waterfowl hunters and other lake users.

The closures come after the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the disease, called Newcastle, from samples collected during the cleanup of dead cormorants in early August.

Islands in other lakes throughout the state could face the same fate. Results from samples submitted from bird die-offs are pending. Some of those lakes include Mille Lacs; Johanna near Glenwood; Pelican near Brainerd; Chautauqua and Pelican near Fergus Falls; and Wells near Faribault.

Star Tribune -
31 Aug 2012
P Walsh
Location: View locations of cases reported in Minnesota, USA on Disease News Map

Avian botulism showing up in birds again

After a quiet 2011, Antrim County propery owners along the shores of Grand Traverse Bay are once again being asked to keep their eyes open for dead waterfowl and shorebirds on their beaches with the re-appearance of deadly avian botulism believed to be responsible for the deaths of a number of birds along the eastern shores of Lake Michigan in recent weeks.

Loons, scoters, grebes, and piping plovers are among thousands of birds found dead, with Type E botulism confirmed as the cause of death by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in bird carcasses collected from several locations along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Antrim Review -
06 Sep 2012
L Gallagher
Location: Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan, USA - Map It

Other Wildlife Health News in the Great Lakes Region
Avian Botulism reported by Watershed Council [Lake Michigan (Emmet Co.), Michigan, USA - Map It ]

Photo courtesy of The Guardian's feature, Week in Wildlife
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Huh?! That's Interesting!

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