AUSTIN The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) received confirmation of a case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a deer-breeding facility in Kimble County, marking the second such detection in a deer-breeding facility located in the county.
A six-year-old doe tested positive through an antemortem (live-animal) test conducted to meet annual CWD surveillance requirements for the facility, and postmortem testing confirmed the initial result, a news release said.
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station initially analyzed the samples, with the National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirming the CWD detection.
CWD has an incubation period that can span years, meaning the first indication in a herd may likely come through surveillance testing rather than observed clinical signs. Early detection and proactive monitoring improve the state’s response time to the detection of CWD and can greatly reduce the risk of further disease spread.
Prior to the beginning of all deer hunting seasons, TPWD will establish a surveillance zone encompassing a two-mile radius from this recent detection. All hunter harvested deer from this new zone must be presented at a check station location, yet to be determined, within 48 hours of harvesting the deer. All affected landowners within this zone will be contacted by the department after the zone boundaries are established.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease found in certain cervids including deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family. This slow, progressive disease may not produce visible signs in susceptible species for several years after infection. As the irreversible disease process continues, animals with CWD may show changes in behavior and appearance. Clinical signs may include progressive weight loss, stumbling or tremors with a lack of coordination, loss of appetite, teeth grinding, abnormal head posture and/or drooping ears, and excessive thirst, salivation or urination.
In Texas, the disease was first discovered in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer along a remote area of the Hueco Mountains near the Texas-New Mexico border. CWD has since been detected in Texas captive and free-ranging cervids, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, red deer and elk.
For more information on previous detections in Texas and CWD best management practices for hunters and landowners, visit TPWD’s CWD page. The recently updated page includes a map of all CWD zones, check stations and positive case tracking. This webpage can be utilized to find answers to frequently asked questions, view videos with information from wildlife veterinarians and review the latest news.