New CWD Field Test

The Modern Carnivore Podcast

For those who don’t know, CWD stands for Chronic Wasting Disease. The animals affected by this disease include deer, elk, and moose. This disease is spread through direct and indirect transmission. Direct transmission is when the animals are together and are in direct contact with each other. However, indirect is when an animal transmits the disease through the silva, urine, or other bodily materials that an infected animal has left behind in the environment.  This disease is fatal 100% of the time but can take 2-3 years to fully waste the animal. Commonly, animals with CWD appear sickly and confused. Yet, this disease is found in seemly healthy animals as well.  As a result of the lengthy period from infection to death, it can be hard to track animal exposure.  This is why testing can be one of our best and only defenses against this disease.

The Importance of Testing

Currently CWD has been found in 26 states across the Untied States and is spreading fast.  By testing the deer we can determine the prevalence in certain areas.  This helps the state and national wildlife departments make important CWD management decisions.  Another positive about testing is that you can make an informed decision on whether or not to eat your harvested venison.  At this point, it is not recommended to eat venison that has tested positive for CWD. The current testing process can be complicated and lengthy. In some cases it can take two or more weeks to get results. However, researchers are working hard for a solution to this problem.

MN Pro team working on CWD Field Test

The MN PRO team working with the novel test for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

Progress Towards a CWD Field Test for Hunters

On this episode of the Modern Carnivore Podcast Mark talks with Marc Schwabenlander and Tiffany Wolf from the University of Minnesota.  Marc is the chronic wasting disease research program and outreach manager at MNPRO.  Tiffany is an assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine and co-director of MNPRO. They are two of the great minds that have created this exciting new innovation for the world of conservation.  The goal of this project is to create a faster cost-effective test for CWD. While this is only the first step in what has promise as a game-changer with CWD, it’s extremely positive news. Listen in to this episode to find out more about CWD and this innovative new testing method.

First picture of the novel CWD Field Test by MN PRO

First glimpse at the novel CWD field test by MN PRO researchers (Image by Carolyn Bernhardt)

Check out the University of Minnesota’s Press Release on CWD Field Test!

Also check out the spread of CWD with this Interactive Map from the USGS

For more CWD information from Modern Carnivore:

Chronic Wasting Disease In Deer – Modern Carnivore Podcast (Ep. 007)



Posted by Mark

Mark Norquist is Publisher and Editor of Modern Carnivore. He's spent a good part of his life outdoors. He has a passion for hunting, fishing, foraging and eating healthy food.