Document Type


Publication Date



cwd, cwd analysis, deer, elk, chronic wasting disease, adrdl

Extension Number

ExEx 11012


Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences


You can find out quickly if your deer or elk has chronic wasting disease (CWD). During the hunting season, the SDSU Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Lab (ADRDL) at SDSU will provide results of testing for CWD of deer and elk within 72 hours of receiving a fresh (unfrozen) retropharyngeal lymph node. The test is highly accurate. Collect the sample in the field yourself or take the animal to a veterinarian for dissection. Specimens from the public must be forwarded to the ADRDL by a licensed veterinarian. Specimens can also be delivered directly to the lab on the SDSU campus and veterinarian information will be collected at that time. Billing for the test ($20 plus an accession fee) will be to your veterinarian, who will pass the test fee on to you along with any other services provided. All positive specimens will be tested a second time by an alternative method at no additional charge before a final interpretation is given. The specimen to be collected is any one of the paired retropharyngeal lymph nodes. (see dissection instructions below). The lymph node should be collected into a sealed plastic bag, bagged again into a second sealed plastic bag, and then kept cold (refrigeration temperature or in a cooler with ice packs) until arrival at the laboratory. Do not place the lymph node in the freezer or directly on ice packs—the specimen should never be frozen. Write name of hunter on the outer bag with a waterproof permanent marker.