Wildlife officials partner with LSU to test deer for chronic wasting disease

As deer hunting season across the state ramps up, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries continues to take steps to prevent chronic wasting disease (CWD) from coming into the state. (Photo courtesy of MGN, Pixnio).
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - As deer hunting season across the state ramps up, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries continues to take steps to prevent chronic wasting disease (CWD) from coming into the state.

“It’s a very bad disease for the deer because they, it’s a brain disease and it, they just waste away," taxidermist Steve German said.

CWD is fatal to deer and while it has not been detected in Louisiana it’s been found in 26 other states including those sharing a border with Sportsman’s Paradise.

German sees numerous deer come through his doors each day.

“There’s no way to tell, we can’t look at the shape of the deer or anything like that and tell if it’s got CWD," he said. "It’s a test that the Wildlife and Fisheries has to do.”

For several years the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries have sent off samples of deer to out-of-state labs to test for the disease.

“When we got during the busiest part of hunting season the labs would basically get inundated with samples they typically would run the samples from their own state first and we would you know have our samples run afterward," LDWF Deer Program Manager, Johnathan Bordelon said.

But that is about to change, LDWF is partnering with the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine to provide in-state testing of harvested deer for the presence of the disease.

“The benefit of having the in-state lab at LSU is a much quicker turnaround results," he said.

Cutting down the turnaround time from nearly two months to one to two weeks.

“To me just being a [...] taxidermist, it’s going to help the Wildlife and Fisheries manage the problem more than anything," German said.

The testing service will cost hunters $37.50 and users are able to review their results on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' website.

Hunters looking to have their harvested deer tested for CWD are encouraged to complete a new online form.

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