Chapter 13 – Chronic Wasting Disease Voluntary Herd Certification Program – July 2017
13.4 Program Procedures – July 2017

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

Looking for related documents?
Search for related documents in the Guidance Document Repository

Preliminary Activities

  1. Schedule a meeting with the local Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) district veterinarian to obtain the training necessary to establish a valid accreditation agreement (contract) with the CFIA. During this meeting, review the terms and conditions for herd certification, and discuss the duties and procedures that the accredited veterinarian must follow for the delivery of the Chronic Wasting Disease Voluntary Herd Certification Program (CWD VHCP).
  2. Obtain and read the National Standards for the CWD VHCP (see Module 13.6, Appendix 3).
  3. A tutorial or a review of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) brain and lymph node sampling techniques in cervids is suggested at this time. The CD "Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies: Surveillance and Specimen Collection" is a good resource available through the CFIA.
  4. Once accredited for this function, make arrangements with an interested owner/cervid farm operator to assess the facilities, herd management, and record-keeping practices. These steps should be undertaken to gauge the degree to which the accredited veterinarian believes the producer can be successful, and to identify any necessary changes in record keeping or management that would facilitate meeting the CWD VHCP requirements.

    Note: An initial herd inventory is to be prepared within the three-month period immediately prior to acceptance of the application, as per Inventories/Inspections below. This inventory is to be done by an accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian, or an approved third party.

  5. Advise owners/cervid farm operators to contact the regional administrator (RA) in their area (see Module 13.6, Appendix 4) to obtain an application form and to learn what is required to participate, to advance and to maintain certification.

    Note: Certain regions in Canada may have a standard that is equivalent to or higher than what is set out in the national standards and in this manual. Obtain a copy of the regional VHCP from the regional administrator (RA), noting any differences in requirements over and above what is detailed in this manual, as the regional CWD VHCP is the program which must be followed. Periodically (at least once a year) speak with the status assessor to obtain any new updates to the regional program.

Application

  1. The owner/cervid farm operator contacts the RA and requests an application form.
  2. An application is completed and submitted to the organization responsible for status assessment by the owner/cervid farm operator. The application form must be accompanied by the following:
    • a site plan (see paragraph 4.4 Biosecurity of the National Standards) of all structures and grazing areas to which cervids are given access and that are used to store feed, as well as water sources, proximity to other farmed cervid herds and location of fences;
    • the initial herd inventory prepared by the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian, or approved third party within the three-month period immediately prior to acceptance of the application; and
    • a record-keeping system (objective: records must be able to be reviewed completely and effectively at each annual inspection).
  3. The application must be signed by the accredited veterinarian and the owner/cervid farm operator. The initial inventory must be signed by the owner/cervid farm operator and the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or the trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department who conducts the inventory.

Annual Anniversary Date and Anniversary Quarter

  1. The status assessor (SA) reviews the application and assigns an anniversary date and a herd level upon official acceptance to the VHCP.

    Accelerated admission up to level C of the VHCP may be possible for herds that have met all current VHCP requirements for one or more years prior to application. Documentation demonstrating that the current VHCP requirements were being met for that period of time must be provided. Advancement would only be for the number of years all VHCP requirements were being met, and documented, and only for a maximum of three years (level C).

  2. The herd's category each year will be effective on the annual anniversary date.

    When requested by an owner/cervid farm operator, and at the discretion of the status assessor, an anniversary date may be changed if there is a legitimate reason and it doesn't provide an unfair advantage to the owner/cervid farm operator. This may be accomplished by advancing the date to the end of the quarter each year until the desired quarter is reached.

  3. Each annual inventory will be completed within the three months before or after the annual anniversary date.
  4. The National Standards refer to an anniversary quarter. The anniversary quarter, for subsequent years, is the three-month period immediately following the anniversary date.

Inventories/Inspections

  1. Annual inspections must be conducted by an accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian. This role may also be filled by trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department (e.g. game farm inspectors, etc.). Physical inventories must be conducted by an accredited veterinarian, an official veterinarian, or an approved third party.

    Approved third party: An individual who is not the owner/cervid farm operator, is at arm's length with the owner/cervid farm operator and is approved by the regional administrator as an eligible Program deliverer, and who is trained and qualified to deliver certain aspects of the VHCP. Approved third parties may include staff of a provincial/territorial department or agency, an animal health technician who is registered under the appropriate provincial licensing body and supervised by an accredited veterinarian, or a CFIA veterinarian or inspector.

  2. Identification is required for all cervids before they reach 12 months of age, and by two unique identification devices, one of which must be an official device/tag. Where both national and provincial/territorial official identification devices exist, both must be present. All cervids must be similarly tagged if moved off the premises, or if a change in ownership occurs.
  3. Assess the animals for any clinical signs that can be associated with CWD.
  4. The initial inventory must be completed within the three month period immediately prior to acceptance of the application. Each subsequent inventory must be completed and reported within three months of the anniversary date (i.e. no later than the end of the anniversary quarter).
  5. Inventories (initial, physical and annual) will be conducted by an accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or an approved third party (see 1.4 Program Delivery of the national standards in Module 13.6 Appendix 3). These inventories will identify all cervids on the premises. During the physical inventory, all live cervids 12 months of age and older in the herd (and any stored dead cervid heads/samples) must be individually inspected and all identification devices, including any official devices, must be recorded. The accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian must check for any clinical symptoms of CWD in cervids identified as showing signs of ill-health. If identification cannot be made visually, the cervid(s) must be restrained for verification. Cervids under 12 months of age must be counted and recorded on the inventory, but they do not require unique identifiers.

    If a herd inspection is performed by a CFIA veterinary inspector for the purposes of the CFIA's tuberculosis or brucellosis testing program, this may replace part, or all, of the inventory.

    A reconciliation of the inventory findings is performed by the producer. The reconciliation must be verified by the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department and included in the annual report. The reconciliation is made against the previous year's inventory report, which is supplied by the regional administrator at least one month prior to the start of the anniversary quarter.

    The initial and first-year inventories must be physical inventories. Thereafter, physical inventories are required at least every two years. For example, if an owner's/cervid farm operator's herd is scheduled for CFIA tuberculosis and brucellosis testing in a year when it is not due for a VHCP physical inventory, that physical inventory may be used, and the maximum of two years in between physical inventories will reset.

    Annual inventories are conducted in the years when physical inventories are not required. An annual inventory may identify the cervids by the use of unique identification devices (such as dangle tags) which are visible at a distance. If for any reason a cervid cannot be identified by viewing the identification device at a distance, the cervid must be identified accurately using another identification device. The annual inventory may be conducted by the owner/cervid farm operator, but the reconciliation of the records must be verified by the accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian or by trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department (e.g. game farm inspectors, etc.). A record of this verification must be included in the annual report.

    Inspections will be conducted annually by an accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian. This role may also be filled by trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department (e.g. game farm inspectors, etc.). This will include visual inspection of the premises, observing the general health of the herd, verifying compliance to all regional VHCP requirements, and verifying reconciliation of the inventory. The inspection of the premises includes an assurance of the integrity of the perimeter fences. This assurance can be an inspection of the perimeter fences by the accredited veterinarian or official veterinarian or an approved third party, but it may also come from an attestation by the owner/cervid farm operator (see section 4.4.2 of the National Standards). The inventory may be conducted by an approved third party (physical inventory) or the owner/cervid farm operator (annual inventory) (see section 4.1.1 of the National Standards).

    Inventories must be conducted within three months of the anniversary date.

  6. Instruct the owner/cervid farm operator to record all additions to, or movement out of, the herd. Records are required for every cervid that is born on, or enters/leaves, the premises.
  7. Inform the owner/cervid farm operator that acquisitions of live cervids must include documentation with proof that the cervid comes from one of the sources of equivalent or higher status listed in the section Acquisitions and Movement of Live Cervids and Genetic Material, below. Any acquisitions of live cervids from herds of a lower status will result in the lowering of the certification level to that of the source of the cervids by the SA at the time of annual advancement.
  8. Instruct the owner/cervid farm operator to maintain appropriate documentation of every cervid that leaves the herd (e.g. sales receipts, notation of deaths, testing results).
  9. Inform the owner/cervid farm operator that records must be maintained for a period of five years after the animal has left the herd or died.
  10. Regardless of which approved party does the actual inventory in a given year, the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department is responsible for the verification of inventory records of all cervids, and must sign the annual report attesting to its accuracy and that the premises is fully compliant with all VHCP requirements.

Acquisitions and Movement of Live Cervids and Genetic Material

  1. Acquisitions of live cervids must come from herds of an equivalent or higher level.

    Equivalent or higher status sources include the following:

    • Canadian herds registered in the VHCP at an equivalent or higher certification level (anniversary quarter will be taken into consideration);
    • from a country the CFIA recognizes as being free from CWD; or
    • from a herd registered (on the date of export) at an equivalent or higher level in a country/region/zone of origin's CWD Herd Certification Program, that the CFIA has assessed as being equivalent to the VHCP.
  2. Acquisitions of live cervids from herds of a lower status will result in the lowering of the certification level to that of the source of the cervids (level E if cervids are introduced from a non-participating herd).
  3. Co-mingling (even temporarily) of cervids from non-participating cervid herds or a herd of a lower CWD VHCP status will result in downgrading of the certification level to that of the herd of origin of the lowest level (level E if cervids are co-mingled with cervids from a non-participating herd).
  4. There is currently no scientific evidence that germplasm may transmit CWD. As such, semen and embryos may be sourced from cervids in non-participating herds or herds of any certification level, with no impact on the certification level of the recipient herd, provided that, on the date of insemination or embryo transplant, the cervid donor is not CWD-positive or a CWD-exposed susceptible cervid.

Annual Report

  1. The annual report, which is signed by both the owner/cervid farm operator and the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or by trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department, is submitted to the status assessor, and includes the annual inspection report (see section 4.1.2 of the National Standards), a reconciliation of the inventories (see sections 3.11 and 4.1.1 of the National Standards), supporting documentation for cervids that have moved on and off the premises (see section 3.11 of the National Standards), necessary laboratory reports (see section 4.2.1 of the National Standards), perimeter fences report or attestation (see section 4.4.2 of the National Standards), and any other supporting documentation.

    A reconciliation of the inventories lists the following:

    • identification of each cervid on the premises at the time of the inventory. All cervids of every age must be on the inventory;
    • all identification devices placed on each cervid, including the current calf or fawn crop and any cervids that have lost identification devices;
    • all cervids that have entered or left the premises (for any reason) since the last inventory;
    • the status of the herd of origin for those cervids entering the premises;
    • all deaths, including identification device/tag number(s);
    • the destination of every cervid that moved off the premises as established by a bill of sale or, if the cervid has not been sold, a signed document showing the destination of the cervid; and
    • appropriate laboratory results (CWD testing).

    Official documents produced by provincial/territorial or national identification/traceability programs will be accepted as supporting documentation for cervids that have moved on and off the premises.

    When satisfied that the report adequately documents all of the above requirements, the report must include the accredited veterinarian's or official veterinarian's or the qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department's name and signature.

  2. The report must be forwarded to the SA within three months of the anniversary date.
  3. In all cases, the owner/cervid farm operator is ultimately responsible for clarifying any inventory or inspection questions or concerns that may arise during the course of the review of the annual report by the status assessor.

Record-Keeping Requirement

  1. The owner/cervid farm operator must keep detailed herd records of every cervid that is born on, or enters, the premises, regardless of who the owner is or who is responsible for the cervid. The records must be kept for a period of five years after the cervid has left the herd or has died. The records must be made available to the status assessor, accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian, program delivery personnel or the CFIA at any reasonable time and must be presented at the time of each annual inventory.

    For all cervids in the herd, the basic minimum data that must be maintained in records and included as part of the annual report includes the following:

    • the cervid's species;
    • the cervid's identification device/tag number(s);
    • the cervid's sex;
    • the date the cervid entered the herd (day if available, month and year);
    • the cervid's date of birth (day, month, year);
    • the source of the cervid (homegrown, purchased, loaned);
    • any cervid movement permits;
    • if the cervid was not born in the herd, the name and address of the person from whom it was obtained; a copy of the proof of herd status issued for the herd of origin; and the day, month, and year it was issued;
    • the date the cervid left the herd, the premises to which the cervid was moved, and the name, address, and telephone number of the person to whom the cervid was sold (new owners are required to keep bills of sale);
    • the reason for the cervid leaving and appropriate documentation (a shipping invoice if shipped, a receipt if sold, date of death/test result); and
    • CWD testing results for all cervids over 12 months of age that die (including slaughter, as per Deadstock Testing below) or are destroyed for any reason.

Deadstock Testing

  1. Testing is the most important pillar to estimate the CWD status of the herd.

    Owners/cervid farm operators are required to submit samples from 100% of cervids 12 months of age and older that die, are humanely euthanized, or hunted on farm for CWD testing, in order to advance or remain certified. Beginning January 1, 2018, the requirement to submit samples for CWD testing will also include 50% of any cervids on the premises slaughtered at any abattoir (including US abattoirs) or on farm. January 1, 2019 the slaughter requirement for CWD testing will increase to 75%, and January 1, 2020 the slaughter requirement for CWD testing will increase to 100%. The sale of cervids to a hunt farm is similar to any other cervid sale.

    If a required sample is missed, an owner/cervid farm operator at levels E–A has the option to sacrifice two other adult (12 months of age and older) cervids from the herd for every sample that is missed in order to meet requirements to advance. An owner/cervid farm operator at the certified level has the option to sacrifice one other adult (12 months of age and older) cervid from the herd for every sample that is missed in order to meet the requirements to maintain certified level. The sacrificed cervids must be a similar cohort to the sample that was missed. Sacrifices cannot be used to overcome the repeated submission of poor quality samples.

    Cohort: A group of cervids with close or similar types of experiences. Animals in the same cohort will be the same age, will have been on the premises for the same length of time, kept in the same enclosures, fed the same feed and accessed the same water supplies. A sacrificed animal should be, as much as possible, from the same cohort as the missed-sample animal.

  2. Missed samples that can be neither exempted (as per Exemptions, section 4.2.8 of the National Standards) nor replaced by the above sacrifice option may be considered as missed submissions, at the discretion of the status assessor.
  3. The head of the cervid may be submitted directly to a CFIA-approved laboratory by the owner/cervid farm operator; alternatively, a certified CWD sample collector (see definition below) may collect tissue samples for submission to a CFIA-approved laboratory. In all cases, heads or tissue samples should be chilled or frozen immediately upon being found. The owner/cervid farm operator or certified CWD sample collector should contact the laboratory in advance of submitting a head/tissue sample. The head of the cervid must bear all identification in situ. All samples must be accompanied by identification.

    Certified CWD Sample Collector: An individual who has completed appropriate training recognized by his or her regional administrator on the collection and preservation of samples for CWD testing and on proper recordkeeping, and is certified by his or her regional administrator to perform these activities for farmed cervids for the purposes of the VHCP. A certified CWD sample collector may be an approved third party (see definition below) or a cervid farm operator. He/she must operate at arm's length from the owner/cervid farm operator and may not collect samples from his/her own animals. A certified CWD sample collector is responsible for ensuring that, for all cervids presented for sample collection, all identification devices have been verified in situ.

    CWD is a reportable disease; therefore, if an animal exhibits signs for which CWD is a differential diagnosis, the local CFIA district office can be contacted for sampling.

    Note: Required samples removed from the head by anyone other than an accredited veterinarian, appropriate provincial staff, certified CWD sample collector, or provincial laboratory (or a CFIA veterinarian/inspector) will not be considered as submitted.

    If the dead cervid is not found immediately, or the certified CWD sample collector or the laboratory are not available within 36 hours of death, the head of the cervid must be frozen and submitted in a timely manner as a frozen specimen. Freezing enables the CWD diagnostic test to be applied to the tissues that otherwise would no longer be suitable for testing.

    The accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department should review, with the owner/cervid farm operator, how to sever the head (see Module 13.6, Appendices 1A and 1B), and indicate how it should be prepared for shipping.

  4. Cervids 12 months and older which have died or been euthanized and are submitted to a laboratory for routine post-mortem diagnosis must be tested for CWD.
  5. The nearest CFIA-approved laboratory for CWD surveillance testing should be identified by both the owner/cervid farm operator and the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department (see Module 13.6, Appendix 1C).
  6. Removal of the brain or retropharyngeal lymph nodes (RPLNs) carried out by anyone other than an accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian, qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department, or a certified CWD sample collector will not be counted as submitted.
  7. Both the obex and the retropharygeal lymph nodes must be submitted for all farmed cervids tested for CWD.

Exemptions

The status assessor should consider the following as automatic exemptions from the requirement to submit, unless the status assessor suspects the conditions set out were not met or that the exemption is being abused to the detriment of the VHCP.

  • Destruction of cervids (including stored heads/samples) by fire: a certificate or letter from an appropriate official must accompany the annual report.
  • The destruction or carrying away of the head of a cervid by a predator: a certificate or letter from an appropriate wildlife officer or other government official responsible for investigating such incidents must accompany the annual report.
  • Theft: a report from the police officer who investigates the theft must accompany the annual report.
  • Loss or destruction of the head/tissue sample that is no longer in the control of the owner/cervid farm operator (e.g. by an accredited veterinarian, courier or laboratory). Recognized laboratories should note on reception of the specimen that the obex, RPLN or other appropriate tissue samples are not present and the reason why. A letter setting out the details of the loss of the sample by the individual responsible must accompany the annual report.
  • Any other reason (such as a flood), over which the owner/cervid farm operator could not reasonably be expected to have control that results in the destruction or disappearance of the head/tissue sample: a letter or report by an acceptable third party that sets out the details of the reason for failure to submit the sample must accompany the annual report. The status assessor may accept a picture (when available) of the cervid's head that clearly shows the identification device(s), preferably still in situ.

Sample Submissions

  1. The requirements and exemptions for testing are detailed above in "Deadstock Testing" and "Exemptions."
  2. Specimens must meet the requirements specified in the diagnostic protocol approved by the CFIA, which guarantees the reliability and accuracy of the results. If an unsuitable specimen is received (see point 3 below), the receiving laboratory is to notify the status assessor, the owner/cervid farm operator and either the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department responsible for the herd. A follow-up of the details of the individual situation will be undertaken by the status assessor. If negligence on the part of the owner/cervid farm operator is identified as the cause, or this occurrence is repeated, then the VHCP's requirements are not considered to have been met and the herd is to be suspended.
  3. Good-quality sampling and complete tissue collection of the obex and the retropharyngeal lymph nodes (RPLN) from dead cervids are essential for successful surveillance. Owners/cervid farm operators are responsible to ensure that good-quality tissue samples are collected, and that all required samples and identification are submitted. The following are examples of poor-quality untestable samples:
    • the sample/head is severely autolyzed (putrefied);
    • the wrong portion of the brain was submitted, or something other than the whole brain/obex was submitted;
    • the skull/head was submitted but no testable tissue was present;
    • the sample is not testable for other reasons (i.e. no identification, etc.).
  4. The obex and the retropharyngeal lymph nodes (RPLN) must both be submitted for all farmed cervids tested for CWD.

    The obex of the medulla is the primary target tissue tested for all members of the family Cervidae (with the exception of members of the genus Odocoileus), such as elk, red deer, reindeer/caribou, sika deer, fallow deer, moose and any hybrids.

    The RPLN is the primary target tissue tested for Odocoileus species, including white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer, mule deer and any hybrids.

    The additional submitted tissues will be frozen and held by the laboratory until the initial test is completed.

  5. If moribund cervids need to be humanely destroyed on farm by a gunshot to the head, the owners/cervid farm operators should obtain specific instructions from their veterinarian or association on how to humanely shoot a cervid without destroying the obex, as the obex of the medulla is the portion of the brain required for testing. The recipient lab must sample and test for CWD both the whole brain and one lymph node from the head (mandibular or retropharyngeal) or, if no lymph nodes are available, the whole brain and one tonsil.
  6. The specimens must always be submitted to a CFIA-approved laboratory for the Bio-Rad enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test and must follow the methodology approved by the CFIA at the time of the test. All suspect test results will be confirmed by the CFIA national reference laboratory for CWD, with the CFIA responsible for reporting the results to the owner/cervid farm operator.
  7. When the head is presented to an accredited veterinarian or other certified CWD sample collector and there is no brain tissue to sample or no identification, the accredited veterinarian will provide the owner/cervid farm operator with a letter certifying that the head was submitted but a sample could not be forwarded for testing, with an explanation of why a sample could not be forwarded for testing.

Reporting of Results

The standard test for the VHCP must be the test currently recognized by the CFIA as an appropriate screening test. Currently it is the Bio-Rad ELISA, and reporting must reflect this.

Results of analysis on samples submitted for CWD via Bio-Rad ELISA are reported as follows:

  1. Tested: CWD not detected

    (Where the specimen submitted contained the correct target tissue for the species being tested.)

    The sample will be reported as: "Bio-Rad ELISA was negative for disease-specific PrP (PrPCWD). Based on the tissue available for testing, this cervid was unlikely to have died from CWD."

  2. Tested: CWD not detected in secondary target tissue

    (Where the specimen submitted did not contain the primary target tissue identified for the species being tested.)

    The sample will be reported as: "Bio-Rad ELISA was negative for disease specific PrP (PrP (PrPCWD). Based on the tissue available for testing, this cervid was unlikely to have died from CWD."

    This may include the following:

    • samples from white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer, mule deer and any hybrids where the RPLN was not submitted, but the obex and/or the whole brain is available for testing; and
    • samples from elk, red deer, fallow deer, Sika deer, reindeer/caribou, moose and any hybrids where the obex was not submitted, but the RPLN or other areas of the brain is available for testing.
  3. Submitted: Unsuitable for testing

    (Where the specimen submitted did not have identifiable whole brain/obex or RPLN tissue available for testing.)

    The sample will be reported as "Submitted: Unsuitable for testing." This should be followed with an explanation as to the cause for this result. This may include the following:

    • the sample/head is severely autolyzed (putrified);
    • the wrong portion of the brain was submitted, or something other than the whole brain/obex was submitted;
    • the skull/head was submitted, but no testable tissue was present; and
    • the sample is not testable for other reasons (i.e. no identification, etc.).

    For the purposes of testing under the VHCP, samples being reported as "Tested: CWD not detected" will be considered suitable when the herd is assessed for advancement within the VHCP.

    Samples being reported as "Tested: CWD not detected in secondary target tissue" will be considered as suitable when a herd is assessed for advancement within the VHCP if it happens only sporadically. If primary tissue is missed repeatedly, a follow-up of the details of the individual situation will be undertaken by the status assessor. If negligence on the part of the owner/cervid farm operator is identified as the cause, or this occurrence is repeated, then the VHCP's requirements are considered to have not been met and the herd is to be suspended.

  4. Laboratory results are generally reported to the party that submits the sample, though this may vary by laboratory.

Advancement or Changes to Herd Status

  1. In addition to the criteria for advancement outlined in the "Deadstock Testing" section of this document, please refer to section 2.2 "Advancement or Changes to Status," and section 2.3 "Suspension/Revocation/Appeals" as outlined in the National Standards, for more information on what criteria the status assessor may use when determining an enrolled herd's status in any given year.

    Note: These administrative decisions may be set to an equivalent, or higher, level in various regional programs; check with the regional administrator/status assessor in your area regarding status assessments.

  2. The minimum national standards for suspension and appeals are outlined in the national standards; check with the regional administrator/status assessor for your regional program regarding the process for suspension and/or revocation or appeals.

Sick Animals

  1. Instruct the owner/cervid farm operator of the herd to report to the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department any illness in a cervid 12 months of age or older, lasting longer than two weeks, except for a physical injury.
  2. The accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department will be responsible for monitoring the outcome of the case and for reporting the case to the CFIA if CWD is a differential diagnosis. Educate the owner/cervid farm operator to recognize the clinical signs of CWD, and provide information on the epidemiology of the disease. CWD is a reportable disease, and thus, if an animal exhibits signs for which CWD is a differential diagnosis, the local CFIA district office can be contacted for sampling.

Sanitary Precautions

  1. Any cervid showing an illness of more than two weeks' duration must not be moved off the premises or have contact with any cervid with which it has not had previous contact, unless the accredited veterinarian, official veterinarian or trained and qualified provincial/territorial staff of the VHCP department approves the movement to treat the animal, and this movement will not expose any additional cervids.
  2. Transportation vehicles can be a significant source of both direct and indirect transmission of CWD to farmed cervids as infective prion can be found in feces, urine and saliva of infected cervids. The prion can remain infective in trailers contaminated by feces, urine and saliva left in uncleaned trailers. Mixed loads of farmed cervids of different VHCP status (or no status) can only occur if all the cervids are going directly to slaughter.

Transportation vehicles need to be thoroughly cleaned (power washed or scrubbed with low pressure water, detergent and a brush) of all visible organic material and disinfected (see section 5 of the National Standards and Module 13.6, Appendix 2) in the following situations:

  • When cervids are transported off the premises (to shows, etc.) and returned to the premises, the transportation vehicle must be cleaned and disinfected upon returning to the premises.
  • When the transportation vehicle is used to transport cervids of mixed status (lower and/or no VHCP status) such as shipping directly to slaughter and stopping at various premises to load the cervids. After the shipment is completed, the transportation vehicle must be cleaned and disinfected prior to the next time it enters a VHCP premises.

Whenever a vehicle containing cervids of lower or unknown status enters the premises, any organic matter (especially feces and urine) that escapes from the vehicle must be collected and disposed of in a manner that prevents farmed cervids on the premises being exposed to this material.

In all other situations, the transportation vehicle need only be cleaned and washed of all organic material (disinfection is not required). Transportation vehicles should be periodically disinfected as a routine preventive measure. Photos can be used as a record that a transportation vehicle was properly cleaned, and a statement from the individual who disinfected a trailer (when required as above) will be a record of disinfection.

Date modified: