December 10, 2013

Cause of hoof rot remains elusive as state review options and other wildlife health news


New York: Hundreds Of Loons, Ducks Fall Victim To Type E Botulism On Lake Ontario

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced Friday the death of hundreds of migratory birds on the eastern basin of Lake Ontario, blaming it on Type E botulism.

According to a DEC press release, reports from the public and field investigations by DEC crews indicate that at least 200-300 common loons have washed ashore along Jefferson and northern Oswego County shorelines. The loon deaths were all attributable to type E botulism. Long-tailed ducks, grebes and gulls have also been found.

Despite being an annual event in one or more of the Great Lakes since the late 1990s, it’s been seven years since so many loons have been reported killed on Lake Ontario.

To date in 2013, all known botulism mortality in diving birds in New York has been confined to the eastern basin of Lake Ontario.

Global Dispatch
08 Dec 2013
R Herriman
Location: Jefferson and Oswego Co., New York, USA - View on Global Wildlife Disease News Map

Other Avian Botulism News

Avian Cholera Confirmed on St. Lawrence Island

An unusual number of sick and dead seabirds around St. Lawrence Island is caused by Avian Cholera, a bacterial infection relatively common in waterfowl other places, but previously undetected in Alaska.

The highly contagious bacterium, Pasteurella multocida, has caused many large die-offs of wild waterfowl worldwide and causes one of the most common diseases of domestic poultry. The closest avian cholera events to Alaska in the past decade involved common eiders and snow geese in Nunavut and Northwest Territories, Canada. It is not related to the infection in people referred to as ‘cholera.’

Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen, Wildlife Veterinarian and Wildlife Disease Specialist says that the speedy detection of the disease was a result of two factors. Citizens of Gambell and Savoonga quickly reported seeing sick and dead birds beginning November 20th. The University of Alaska’s Marine Advisory Program Biologist Gay Sheffield who is stationed in Nome received a dead thick-billed murre, a Northern fulmar and a crested auklet and sent them to the U.S. Geological Service National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, WI. The diagnosis was made on December 4.

Dr. Beckmen said that before the diagnosis was confirmed, local residents had shared concerns about possible causes relating to the environmental, and were worried that humans might be susceptible.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game
04 Dec 2013
Location: St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, USA - Map It

Additional News Articles

Cause of hoof rot remains elusive as state review options

The state Department of Fish and Wildlie’s Hoof Disease Public Working Group met for the second time in Vancouver. The panel includes county commissioners, academics, timber company representatives, state and federal land managers, businessmen and representatives of sportsmen’s and conservation organizations.

Sporadic reports of lame elk or elk with overgrown or missing hooves in the Cowlitz River basin began in the mid-1990s. Since 2008, reports of elk with hoof disease have increased and spread west to Pacific County, north to Lewis County and south to Clark County. Due to the rapid increase in sightings since 2008, scientists believe a new disease may have entered the elk population.

The working group agreed Wednesday that a no-action alternative is no good. “WDFW did this with hair loss (syndrome) on deer and they haven’t recovered,’’ said Daniel Cothren, a Wahkiakum County commissioner. “Are we going that same path with this? It finally kind of ran its course, but the deer population isn’t recovering.’’

. . . “What’s really holding us from getting an answer is we have not yet got an animal at the stage of the disease where it’s informative about what’s going on,’’ said Dr. Tom Besser of Washington State University. “We’re either looking at animals that don’t have any lesions yet ... or we have animals where the disease has run its course and the hoof is cracked and infected.’’

Besser said samples need to come from limping elk with more or less normal hooves in the winter of their first year. “We really didn’t realize how fast this disease process must go from initial effects to terminal effects,’’ he added.

The Olympian (source: Vancouver Columbian)
08 Dec 2013
A Thomas
Location: Washington, USA

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