Elk & Deer Health

Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a progressive, fatal, and degenerative neurological disease belonging to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).

CWD susceptible species include white-tailed deer, mule deer, black-tailed deer, North American elk or wapiti, red deer, sika deer, moose and any associated subspecies and hybrids. All mule deer, white-tailed deer, and other native species are under the jurisdiction of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. For more information concerning the CWD rules and regulations for Texas native species, visit www.tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/disease/cwd.

CWD in Texas

The first case of CWD in Texas was discovered in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer in an isolated area of far West Texas. Since that time, 49 additional cervids have tested positive for CWD, ranging from breeder deer to free-ranging deer and are either white-tailed deer or mule deer. On December 6, 2016, the first free-ranging exotic CWD susceptible species (Elk) tested positive for CWD in Dallam County.

View a list of veterinarians certified by the Texas Animal Health Commission to perform antemortem CWD testing in Texas. To deterime if a veterinarian not listed is a TAHC Certified CWD Veterinarian for antemortem CWD testing in Texas, please contact the TAHC Authorized Personnel Department at authorized_personnel@tahc.texas.gov or call 512-719-0761.

Exotic CWD Susceptible Species

North American elk or wapiti, sika deer, red deer, moose, and any associated subspecies and hybrids are classified as exotic CWD susceptible species.

On May 30, 2017 new rules were put in place concerning surveillance and movement requirements for exotic CWD susceptible species. To learn more about the rules, visit the Secretary of State website.

CWD Herd Programs

The TAHC provides a voluntary herd status program for species that are susceptible to CWD. Those that participate in the program must have a herd inventory performed annually by a TAHC, USDA, or accredited veterinarian. For more information about the CWD herd program, call your TAHC region office or 800-550-8242 x777.

The USDA has a voluntary herd certification program also, learn more by reading the USDA CWD Herd Certification Program Factsheet

Rules and Regulations

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Mandatory CWD Testing Requirements and Check Stations

Hunters who harvest mule deer, white-tailed deer, or elk within the Trans-Pecos and Pahnhandle CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones are REQUIRED to bring their animals to a TPWD check station within 24 hours of harvest. TAHC and TPWD urges voluntary sampling of hunter harvested deer and other CWD susceptible species in the Medina area CWD Surveillance Zone. The map of the check stations can be found on the TPWD Website.

Certified CWD Postmortem Sample Collector Authorized Personnel Program

The TAHC Certified CWD Postmortem Sample Collector Authorized Personnel Program regulations and requirements apply to a person, other than an accredited veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Texas, who collects and submits samples for official post-mortem CWD testing in Texas.

Questions about the TAHC Certified CWD Postmortem Sample Collector Authorized Personnel Program not answered here? Contact us at authorized_personnel@tahc.texas.gov or call Ms. Laura Leal at (512) 719-0761 or Dr. Susan Culp at (512) 719-0716.

To sign up for an in person class, contact your TAHC Region Office for available dates and locations.

To check the status of your Certified CWD Postmortem Sample Collector training and renewal date, contact Authorized Personnel Staff at authorized_personnel@tahc.texas.gov or call Ms. Laura Leal at (512) 719-0761 or Dr. Susan Culp at (512) 719-0716.

  • List of TAHC Certified CWD Postmortem Sample Collectors
  • Brochure: CWD Postmortem Testing Frequently Asked Questions
  • Certified CWD Postmortem Sample Collector Authorized Personnel Program Application and Instructions
  • Certified CWD Postmortem Sample Collector Authorized Personnel Program - Online Application
  • Certified CWD Postmortem Sample Collector Recertification Module — [ppt]

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