Dead deer discovered near Love tests positive for brain-wasting disease A new case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) has emerged in an area previously untouched by it, Saskatchewan Environment has confirmed.
A white-tailed deer, found dead for no apparent reason about eight kilometres south of Love, tested positive after it was submitted as part of the province’s regular testing program, said Saskatchewan Environment wildlife specialist Merv Hlady.
It’s the first confirmed case of the brain-wasting disease for the area, located about an hour east of Prince Albert.
“When we’re developing our strategy for this fall, which is not finalized yet, we’re going to have to definitely consider the new positive case in the Love area,” Hlady said. “It’s a new area, so it will create some additional challenges, but we’ll work with it and we’ll involve local people in those discussions.”
Hlady said it’s still too early to tell how they’ll address the new situation.
Another deer, located in the Swift Current creek area that has already seen a number of CWD cases, also tested positive at the same time, Hlady said.
Finding the disease in a wild population presents a “more difficult” situation than finding one in a domestic herd, he said, because wild animals have more mobility to spread the disease.
“We’ve had CWD in wild deer for a number of years now, and we have programs trying to address and control the spread of the disease,” he said. “This just (adds) another layer basically to our management strategy.”
Hlady said the province has seen 68 wild animal cases since 2000, 34 of them confirmed since October 2004. Animals in known problem areas are intensely tested for the disease, he said.
Reducing deer populations is a regular way of controlling CWD, Hlady said, and it’s not something they’re ruling out with the new case.
“It’ll be considered, definitely. The sooner you can act upon a positive, the more chance you have of actually being successful,” he said.
“I think with CWD, what we’re trying to do is manage it, and hope that with the offset of new information, we can have a better chance at beating this thing.”
The disease exists mainly in three areas of Saskatchewan: the South Saskatchewan River corridor near Swift Current, a portion of the Bronson Forest and the Manitou Sand Hills.
Although there are suspicions the disease is spread through saliva and bodily fluids, the science is not conclusive.