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.

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 cervid 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.

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.


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

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.

If you have questions about this program, need to check your certification status, or if you are interested in signing up for an in person class, please contact us at authorized_personnel@tahc.texas.gov or call Laura Leal at (512) 719-0761.


Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that can affect many mammals, including members of the cervidae family. The disease is caused by Mycobacterium bovis. It can be transmitted between livestock, humans, and other animals. The disease is spread through respiratory and oral secretions from infected animals.