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Biology

Diseases of Coues Deer

May 21, 2012 by CouesWhitetail in Biology with 0 Comments

CWD is currently NOT known to be present in Arizona. CWD has been documented in New Mexico (click here to read about CWD in New Mexico).

Here are some links to information about other diseases (not necessarily found in Coues deer, but might be of interest to hunters):

Read the article below to learn more about protecting yourself from CWD.

[highlight1 variation="red"]Hunters Advised to Take Precautions Against Chronic Wasting Disease[/highlight1]

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is advising hunters harvesting meat from deer and elk in other states to take precautions.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer and elk. It is in a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, which include bovine spongiform encephalopathy in domestic cattle (also called “mad cow disease”) and scrapie in domestic sheep and goats. Surveillance in Arizona has thus far shown that CWD is not present in our deer or elk populations, but the Game and Fish Department has implemented steps to reduce the potential for this disease so that it doesn’t establish itself in our state.

Very little is known about how the infectious agent of CWD is transmitted from one animal to another. Nonetheless, we are concerned that CWD might be inadvertently brought into our state through the transport of some infected animal tissues.

In 2002, a ban on the import of live cervids (see notice below) – hoofed mammals like deer and elk – was implemented. Now there are some more practical suggestions that may help prevent the spread of CWD. Precautions that should be taken before bringing any harvested animal back into Arizona include:

  • Bone out the meat and package (either commercially or privately); do not cut into the spinal cord or remove the head; do not quarter (or other method) the carcass with any of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Do not bring the brain, intact skull, or spinal cord back into Arizona.
  • If you wish to take the antlers attached to the skull plate, thoroughly scrape and clean tissue from the skull plate using a knife or brush and bleach.
  • Thoroughly clean all utensils afterwards with bleach.
  • Animal skins or capes (without skull) do not need any further treatment.
  • Sawn-off antlers – with or without velvet – do not need further treatment.
  • Upper canine teeth of elk (“ivories”) do not need further treatment.
  • Finished, taxidermied heads do not require further treatment.

In addition, you may want to have your deer/elk tested for CWD if such a service is available in the state in which you harvested the animal. There may be a fee for such CWD examination. Contact that state’s Fish and Game Department for information on their policies and needs.

At this point, there is no evidence that humans or animals other than deer and elk can get CWD, however, we are asking hunters to take the above precautions in order to protect Arizona’s deer and elk herds from the disease.

In addition, the Department is asking for your assistance in detecting animals that may become infected with this neurological disease in the future. If you ever note deer or elk that are in poor condition, losing hair, droopy ears, stumbling, or have a slow reaction to your presence, please contact the Department at 1-800-352-0700.

Additional information about chronic wasting disease is available from: Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance – www.cwd-info.org

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