Counties with highest CWD prevalence should send road-killed deer carcasses to diagnostics lab
With the opening of the bow deer season in September, hunters who want to have their deer tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) but don’t have a close-by sampling location may consider a mail-in possibility.
Besides collection of tissue samples established by the DNR, hunters may also have a deer tested for CWD at the UW-Madison Veterinary Diagnostic Lab. Hunters must first must call the lab at (800) 608-8387 or click here to download a $7 UPS ground shipping label. They then cut the head off of the deer and ship it to the lab. The charge is about $62 to extract and test the lymph nodes, and dispose of the head.
Hunters will receive a report of the results.
The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has a $1.2-million large commercial “tissue digester” that will dispose of any remains. The digester, similar to a huge pressure cooker, uses a high-temperature, high-pressure alkaline hydrolysis (water based) process that can render prions, that cause CWD, to be in-effective.
Consider this: Since more than 90 percent of the positive samples of deer for CWD during the hunting season come from five counties, why couldn’t those counties send car-killed deer to the digester in Madison?
With CWD prevalence the highest in those counties, there must be many CWD-positive car-killed deer decomposing (and leaving active CWD prions) along highways.
The major objection could be that the cost to counties would be about 50 cents per pound for whole deer brought in to the digester.
But wouldn’t this be a way to help reduce the spread of CWD, until another method is found?