Oct. 15, 2019 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has coordinated with Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine in Baton Rouge to provide an in-state mechanism for testing harvested deer for the presence of CWD.
Hunters seeking to have their harvested deer tested for CWD are encouraged to complete a new online form detailing the specific location where they have harvested a deer and then submit tissue from the animal to the nearest LDWF Field Office. The test will provide a reliable assurance to hunters that the animal they harvested was not detected for CWD.
While CWD has not been detected in Louisiana, it has been found in deer in nearby Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.
“This test will help to give our deer hunters peace of mind,’’ LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said. “But it will also be another tool we can use for monitoring CWD, as we work to keep CWD from entering our state. The more testing that is done the better.’’
“We do not have CWD in the state,” said State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour, “but we’re going to offer this to hunters if they want to have their deer tested.”
The testing service costs $37.50 and users can pay through the online application using any major credit card. Upon completion of the new online form, hunters are given a printable voucher to submit along with their tissue sample. Each submission is assigned an ID number, which is used to view test results from hunters’ specific samples on LDWF’s website, where all results will be publicly available. LDWF is aiming for a complete turnaround of two weeks, allowing hunters to quickly get their results in time to enjoy their venison.
CWD is a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species, including Louisiana’s native white-tailed deer. It is infectious, always fatal, and there is no treatment. It’s part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and is similar to BSE (mad cow disease) in cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue, which leads to excessive salivation, neurological symptoms, emaciation and death of the animal.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence that CWD has infected humans. However, the CDC recommends caution in handling venison in infected regions and that deer be tested for CWD before consuming. CWD positive deer should not be consumed by people.
CWD has been documented in 26 states and three Canadian provinces. LDWF has been monitoring and testing for CWD for more than 15 years and has checked more than 9,000 deer during that period.
Detailed instructions and more information can be found at wlf.la.gov/hunting/CWD.
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