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 January 2020, CWD in free-ranging deer, elk and/or moose has been reported in at least 24 states in the continental United States, as well as two provinces in Canada. CWD has NOT been detected in Kentucky. Approved CWD Import States: Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, and North Carolina
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. There is currently research being conducted for a live CWD test.
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. 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 108 farmed deer herds and about 2500 cervids. All herds are inspected twice a year by an Inspector. 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.
Before applying to the KDA’s CWD Program, you must have an approved facility by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. Click here for more information