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Chronic wasting disease is an infectious disease of cervids (deer, elk and moose). It is a notifiable disease.

First published:
20 November 2018
Last updated:

Chronic wasting disease is a type of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). It has never been present in the UK.

Suspicion and confirmation

Contact your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office immediately on 0300 303 8268 if you suspect chronic wasting disease.

APHA vets will investigate suspected cases.

Clinical signs

Look for signs such as:

  • weight loss
  • excessive drinking and urination
  • changes in behaviour (depression, separation from other animals in the herd)
  • excessive salivation, drooling and teeth grinding
  • poor coordination of movement

Transmission, prevention and treatment

Transmission of chronic wasting disease can occur:

  • directly (to offspring)
  • indirectly via contaminated environment, equipment and clothing

To prevent the disease you should:

  • follow good biosecurity practises on your premises
  • not feed animal protein or processed animal protein to ruminants, including deer

There is no treatment for chronic wasting disease. If a vet suspects TSE in your animal, it must be slaughtered to prevent spread of the disease. Following death of the animal, brain samples will be sent for examination.