The Office of State Veterinarian (OSV) is currently working with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife (FW) to maintain a mandatory monitoring surveillance program for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Kentucky. OSV is responsible for the health requirements of the farmed cervids. Cervids include: deer, elk (including reindeer), moose, etc.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
History of CWD
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was first recognized as a clinical disease in 1967 in Colorado. As of May 2010, CWD has been found in 19 states and 2 Canadian Provinces: Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Virginia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. CWD has NOT been detected in Kentucky.
What is CWD?
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal, neurological disease, characterized by spongy degeneration of the brain. It affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and has recently been confirmed in a moose. CWD belongs to a group of diseases called Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE), which includes Scrapie in sheep and goats, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (commonly known as "mad cow" disease) in cattle, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in humans. It is suspected that the agent responsible for causing TSEs is an abnormal protein called a prion. There is currently no treatment or vaccine available.
Program requirements include fencing (monitored by Kentucky Fish & Wildlife), individual animal identification, regular inventories, and testing of all animals over 12 months of age that die for any reason. With each year of successful surveillance, participating herds will advance in status. State agriculture agencies are responsible for safeguarding the health of domestic livestock including alternative livestock species such as deer and elk. When native wildlife species are farmed the jurisdictions become more complex. Regulatory authority for farmed cervids in Kentucky lies with the State agriculture agency and the wildlife agency. Kentucky has established CWD surveillance and/or herd certification programs and import requirements for farmed cervids.
Farmed Deer Herds in Kentucky
Kentucky has approximately 68 farmed deer herds with a herd status of approximately 1700 deer and 180 elk. All herds are quarterly inspected by a Kentucky Department of Agriculture inspector as well as a yearly visit by a representative from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. An annual census and veterinarian inspection of the herd is also performed.
Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Regulation in Farmed Cervids
This regulation requires that all "farmed cervids" shall be enrolled in one of the state CCWDSI programs, either the:
- Herd Certification Program (HCP) for breeding and propagation herds or
- Herd Monitoring Program (HMP) for harvest/slaughter herds
- Farmed Cervid Regulations
- Kentucky Fish and Wildlife captive cervid information