The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is still awaiting word on several reported cases of deer foot rot in parts of northeastern Kansas.
Other Kansas counties that have reported cases of foot rot include Neosho, Phillips, Cowley, Wilson, Bourbon, Anderson, Geary, Dickinson, Elk, Osage and Decatur.
“Several bacteria species were cultured from hoof samples,” said Shane Hesting, wildlife disease coordinator for the KDWPT. “I haven’t received any more reports from the field. I think it has run its course for this year.”
Tim Donges, president of the QDMA’s Bluestem branch, said he was still receiving reports of fresh deaths from landowners.
“The Georgia lab has found some interesting bacteria present on one of the hoofs and is doing more testing at this time,” Donges said. “I still have not heard any final results so far. Also, I am still watching two deer that have potential signs of the hoof disease and four more that are having a hoof problem but have no signs of swelling so far.”
Donges said he had received an email Feb. 12 from one of the QDMA members regarding their deer herd. Bryant Krouth, of Linn County, said his area has been seeing a lot of dead bucks recently and he thought they appeared to be fairly fresh. He added that two or three landowners found a total of more than 20 recently-dead bucks.
Hesting said in January that there could be several potential causes of foot rot in deer, including the following:
Some hooves are damaged by hemorrhagic disease viruses during the summer months. This can progress to infection in fall and winter in some cases, especially as the deer walk on hard, frozen, jagged soil with damaged hooves.
Some cases could be attributed to foot rot bacteria (Fusobacterium necrophorum) obtained through open wounds at deer feeders. The bacteria also is known to cause pharyngitis (sore throat) and the potentially life-threatening Lemierre’s syndrome in humans.
Some hooves may get injured when coming into contact with sharp objects like barbed wire fences. Once again, bacteria enters the wounds at some place and time.
Stressed and immuno-suppressed post-rut animals in the population merged with an environment of wetter soil during a wetter than normal year, varying bacterial loads and other conditions leading to hoof infections.
Hesting said the agency was still waiting on final reports from the Georgia-based lab, which is operated through the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Hunters and other members of the public are asked to report any potential cases of foot rot to Hesting by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (620) 450-8122.