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Chronic Wasting Disease Testing in Game Farmed Animals

Reporting deaths

All deaths of cervids over 12 months of age, from any cause including slaughter, must be reported to Saskatchewan Agriculture within 24 hours of discovery.

Notify the Animal Health Unit 

  • Call 306-787-6469 - an answering machine will record any messages after regular business hours.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a federally reportable disease This means the CFIA’s district veterinarian must be contacted if CWD is suspected in a farmed cervid. In addition, as of April 6, 2018, CWD is a provincially notifiable animal disease and designated disease in Saskatchewan. All suspected or confirmed cases of CWD must be reported to the office of the provincial Chief Veterinary Officer within 24 hours.

As of April 1, 2018, only game farms that are on a national voluntary CWD program will be quarantined, depopulated and compensated by CFIA. Check the CFIA's CWD webpage for more information. Farms with CWD that are not eligible for CFIA's control program, will come under provincial authority with measures taken to manage the disease. For CWD testing on game farms where CWD has been confirmed, please follow the appropriate authority's testing requirements.

How to submit cervids for routine CWD testing

A sample from every cervid 12 months of age and older that dies, regardless of the cause of death (including slaughter animals), must be submitted within 15 days of death. No matter what condition the head is in, it must be submitted to Prairie Diagnostic Services (PDS) or an accredited veterinarian for CWD testing.

When a cervid has died, the head must be cooled immediately. If it is not possible to submit it to PDS immediately, the head should be frozen and not allowed to thaw until it reaches either PDS or an accredited veterinarian. When freezing heads, it is important to ensure that all heads freeze quickly. All animal identifiers (e.g. ear tags) should be recorded and remain attached when the head is submitted for testing.

Submit cervid heads for testing regardless of their condition. If the head is considered not suitable for testing, either a licensed veterinarian or the lab will need to provide written confirmation to Ministry of Agriculture for it to be considered a submitted untestable sample. Good quality photographs may also be acceptable from the cervid operator if they show identification tags and condition of skull and if possible the location where the animal was found. Please contact the Animal Health Program Officer to discuss this option at 306-787-6469.

Deaths of calves/fawns under 12 months of age must also be reported if the animals have been included in your herd inventory.

All deaths are to be reported on the Birth/Death report, which must be submitted annually.

One submission form is to be filled out and sent per dead animal unless the sample involves a large group of slaughter animals. Use the Multiple Submission form with slaughter groups or attach a list to the CWD submission form of the unique identifications of each cervid (i.e. provincial tag and another tag of the producer's choice).

Hunters wanting to test wild deer, elk, moose and caribou for CWD please visit the Ministry of Environment's Chronic Wasting Disease Information for Hunters web page.

Chronic Wasting Disease Information for Hunters

Submission forms are available below.

Remember: Meat or other parts from slaughter animals should not be released for human consumption until negative CWD results are received. Although there is no known risk to humans from CWD, it is prudent to be cautious and protect venison markets until science is conclusive.

If the head/tissues are submitted to a veterinarian, it is the responsibility of the Owner/Manager to ensure they are aware of the program requirements and given a copy of the information on this page and the Sample Collection and Submission Guideline.

The cost of the laboratory analysis for CWD will only be paid by the Ministry of Agriculture if the animal is 12 months of age or older.

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