Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal brain and nervous system disease found in elk and deer in certain parts of North America. The disease is believed to be caused by an abnormally shaped protein called a prion which can damage brain and nerve tissue. Infected animals show progressive loss of body weight with accompanying behavioral changes. In later stages of the disease, infected animals become emaciated (thus "wasting" disease).
The state of Minnesota requires all farmed cervidae herds to participate in CWD surveillance.
CWD Sample Submission
Brainstem and retropharyngeal lymph nodes should be submitted in a ten percent buffered formalin solution in a spill-proof container. Samples should be sent or delivered to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab along with a CWD sample submission form.