Chronic Wasting Disease detected in Medina County deer breeding facility

AUSTIN The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) received confirmation of a case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Medina County, marking the fifth detection since 2015 in a deer-breeding facility in the county.

A 1-year-old buck tested positive through an antemortem (live-animal) test conducted to meet annual CWD surveillance requirements for the facility.

Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab initially analyzed the samples, and the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa confirmed the CWD detection.

CWD has an incubation period that can span years, so the first indication of the disease in a herd is often found 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.

Due to this recent detection, TPWD may establish a surveillance zone encompassing a two-mile radius. Any hunter harvesting a deer on a property that is wholly or partially encompassed by the zone will be subject to CWD zone rules. All hunter-harvested deer from this new zone must be presented at the Hondo check station location 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.