Article credited to:

Animal Evacuation – Ready For Wildfire


During a wildland fire, local animal rescue organizations work with law enforcement and fire departments to rescue as many animals as they can. In battling a wildfire, firefighters will do what they can but they are not responsible for evacuating your livestock.

Cold Weather And Pets

Article credited to Humane Society:


Cold weather can be deadly for pets. … One of the most common forms of animal cruelty, cases of animals left outside in dangerous weather are investigated more by police and animal control agencies than any other form of animal abuse.

Photo Shows Buck Picked Clean After Getting Caught in High Fence

Article credited to OutdoorHub:



Photo Shows Buck Picked Clean After Getting Caught in High Fence

OutdoorHub Reporters

19 hours ago

It wasn’t a very hard decision when we came across this photo to declare it our photo of the day.

The image was posted by Lone Star Outdoors Show on Facebook, and it shows a buck that got caught up in a fence, and was picked clean by coyotes, vultures, you name it . . .

Warning: Due to it’s graphic nature, we blurred the image above, but for those able to stomach it, we left it alone for you to observe below:


The Absolutely Bizarre Story of Kentucky’s Cocaine Bear

Article credited to OutdoorHub:



The Absolutely Bizarre Story of Kentucky’s Cocaine Bear


OutdoorHub Reporters

Okay, now this story is pretty bizarre – even for us. . .

If you aren’t familiar with the story of Andrew Thornton II, we’ll try to give you a quick run-down.

Andrew was an ordinary farm kid from Kentucky. He got into trouble as a youngster, and eventually found himself in a military academy. After that, he became a Lexington narcotics police officer. We’ll see the irony of this later on. . .

Once he served time busting people on drug charges, he then became a practicing Lexington lawyer. Some even believe Thornton strategically planned his time on the “right side of the law” to help bridge connections with other shady characters across the globe.

According to Kentucky for Kentucky, in 1981, Thornton had been accused of stealing weapons from a California naval base, and conspiring to smuggle half a ton of marijuana into the U.S.

He was somehow able to evade those felony charges though, and got off only having to pay a small fine and spend 6 months in prison, on top of a suspended license.

You’re probably wondering by now, why we’re talking about this man and his trouble making ways, but bare with us, because this story is about to get turned on it’s head. . .

See, in 1985, Thornton had stepped up his criminal activities in a major way, and had been making regular trips to Columbia to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.

During one of those runs, Thornton reportedly had a parachuting accident, and fell to his death in some guy’s yard in Knoxville, Tennessee. Apparently when they found his body, he had on night vision goggles, a bulletproof vest and Gucci loafers on his feet. He also had $4500 in cash casually jammed in his pockets.

Oh yeah, and there was also a duffel bag with roughly 75 pounds of cocaine in it.

This is where things get weird. . .

About three months after Thornton’s death, the body of a black bear was discovered in Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest.

Kentucky for Kentucky reports this is how the story appeared in the New York Times:

Cocaine and a Dead Bear

BLUE RIDGE, Ga., Dec. 22 (UPI) — A 175-pound black bear apparently died of an overdose of cocaine after discovering a batch of the drug, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said today. The cocaine was apparently dropped from a plane piloted by Andrew Thornton, a convicted drug smuggler who died Sept. 11 in Knoxville, Tenn., because he was carrying too heavy a load while parachuting. The bureau said the bear was found Friday in northern Georgia among 40 opened plastic containers with traces of cocaine.

You don’t need to be an expert to know that’s a lot of blow for a bear to get it’s paws on. Just imagine how this went down; The bear was probably rummaging through the forest feasting on berries and bugs, when suddenly it was raging through the trees, and tripping off Columbian star dust.

Ky for Ky did some further poking around for this story, and we’re so glad that they did.

Eventually they got in contact with the actual medical examiner (who’s now retired) who performed the bear’s necropsy and the memory of the cocaine bear was still fresh in his mind.

“Its stomach was literally packed to the brim with cocaine. There isn’t a mammal on the planet that could survive that. Cerebral hemorrhaging, respiratory failure, hyperthermia, renal failure, heart failure, stroke. You name it, that bear had it.”

The bear’s body was apparently in good shape though, so the examiner thought it would be a waste to have it cremated. He made some phone calls, had it taxidermised by a friend, and then gifted the animal to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

Cocaine bear sat on display in the visitor center for a while, before mysteriously disappearing along with a handful of other artifacts.

The stuffed cocaine bear switched hands a few more times after that – including being sold to country music legend Waylon Jennings – before finally settling in the Kentucky Fun Mall, located in northern Lexington.

Cocaine Bear, aka Pablo Eskobear, has become a sort of centerpiece, or a mascot after it’s bizarre journey to the Bluegrass

Deer Hunter Rescues Button Buck Trapped on a Frozen Lake

Article credited to OutdoorHub:



 Deer Hunter Rescues Button Buck Trapped on a Frozen Lake

OutdoorHub Reporters

Do the first signs of winter have you feeling down? Well, don’t worry because even the deer are still having a hard time adjusting to the new frozen season.

A hunter in Minnesota lend a helping hand to a young deer who hasn’t quite got the hang of walking on ice yet. See, deer don’t necessarily have the best grip with their hooves, so when this deer went down, he went down hard and couldn’t get back up.

It’s not known for sure how long the deer was stuck out there for, but without the help of this hunter, the deer would have surely been doomed:

The hunter grabs a hold of the deer’s front hooves and pulled him all the way back to dry land. At first, the deer struggles to get its frozen legs back underneath him, but once he hits dry land, the deer scampers off to see another day.

Good work young man!



How Much Does a Canada Goose Poop in a Day? The Answer is Kind of Surprising

Article credited to OutdoorHub:



How Much Does a Canada Goose Poop in a Day? The Answer is Kind of Surprising

OutdoorHub Reporters

How much poop can a Canada goose poop in one day?

The answer to this revolting question will gross you out entirely, but it probably won’t surprise you all that much. . .

According to the Detroit Free Press, Canada goose numbers were way down in the 20th century due to over-hunting, so efforts were made to introduce the birds to Michigan. To say they thrived would be an understatement.

Going from a population of 9,000 birds in 1970, the state is now home to more than 300,000 Canada geese. With that drastic increase in geese moving in, comes a whole lot of poop.

Now, before we get to any numbers, it’s worth mentioning the growing problem these birds present.

Canada geese appear to share the same interest in areas that we as humans also like to hangout at, such as golf courses, beaches, parks, the list goes on. . .

And when the geese find a prime spot to set up camp, they tend to stick around. They eat, they poop, (a lot) swim, and repeat. Then of course they have dozens of young Canada geese to carry on the same tendencies.

“You’ve got a lot of golf courses, a lot of cemeteries; anywhere you have well manicured grass, that’s where they are going to be,” said Eric McGhee, a waterfowl hunter who sits on the state’s Citizen Waterfowl Advisory Committee.

Canada goose complaints usually fit into one of three categories, McGhee said:

Category 1: Aggressive birds

“People have them around their offices, and, especially in the springtime, when they are mating and laying eggs, that’s when you get a lot of people saying they are being harassed by the geese,” he said. They’re being chased by them; they’re having to fight them off.”

Category 2: The pooping 

According to the Detroit Free Press, an adult Canada goose poops an average of 2 pounds per day. . . These aren’t even proper, dainty poops either. In fact, it’s not at all uncommon for beaches to be closed due to high levels of E. coli bacteria in shoreline waters.

And finally,

Category 3: Farmer’s crops

Farmers and Canada geese don’t get along real well. The geese love corn, wheat and soybeans, and Michigan has plenty of fields filled with them.

“They’ll come and feast all day on your crops,” McGhee said. “They’ll eat a couple of acres of crop, go sleep it off, and come back the next day to do it all over again.”

The solution, McGhee believes, is getting more people into hunting.

“Waterfowl hunting is in decline right now,” he said. “If we could teach the younger hunters it’s OK to go out and manage this problem, it would help. And it is a problem; despite the hunters, the bag limits and what the state is doing to harvest and conserve these birds.”

Don’t let Texas deer disease live and spread to humans

Article credited to Star-Telegram:


A deer forages at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge. Richard W. Rodriguez Star-Telegram

Don’t let Texas deer disease live and spread to humans

Charley Seale, a media spokesman for the American Cervid Alliance, wrote Tuesday of his opposition to tightening regulations designed to better control chronic wasting disease, a newly discovered, inevitably fatal disease in our deer herd (“Texas rules go too far in deer disease fight”).

I want to express my concern as a medical doctor over the pall this malady has cast over the future of whitetail deer in Texas and its implications for public health.

I’m an owner of the 7,500-acre BigWoods on the Trinity hunting preserve, winner of the 2015 statewide Leopold Award for conservation, board certified in internal medicine and cardiology, and a lifelong redneck deer hunter.

CWD is a deer variant of rapidly fatal brain diseases in mammals, the most recent highly publicized human iteration being mad cow disease.

These diseases, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or CJD, the most common yet fortunately still rare variant in humans, were initially thought to be caused by “slow viruses,” but are now known to be spread by prions, abnormal proteins that can somehow replicate themselves.

The epidemic of mad cow disease in England in the 1980s changed our thinking about the transmission of such diseases, as apparently the disease was contracted simply by eating the cooked meat of infected cows. Prions also were found in cow milk and urine.

In my career, I have cared for three patients with these diseases — all three probably CJD, but one perhaps mad cow. As is typical, they were totally demented within a few months and dead within six.

These diseases are all inevitably fatal. They are incurable. The instruments used in treating them are not reliably sterilizable and must be thrown away.

Seale opined that the old regulations to control CWD are adequate, but there is an increasing number of newly discovered afflicted animals.

It is needed and reasonable to test more free-ranging deer for the disease. But to suggest the efforts not be focused on deer-breeding operations, the only places where this pox has been discovered, would be evidence of a basic lack of understanding of epidemiology.

CWD, should it become endemic in our deer herd, would be an utter disaster for the animals themselves, the hunters who seek them, and the culture that has grown up around the sport, not to mention the deer hunting “industry” itself.

But, as a physician, what horrifies me is the possible of spread of this prion disease to humans.

Let me be clear that there is no documented case of CWD spreading to humans, but that is but small solace:

Testing has until recently been possible only when performed on the brains of dead deer. Thus, we almost certainly do not have a definitive comprehension of the breadth of the problem.

What is truly scary is that, in other states, prions have been found in the environment in which these deer have lived and persist for years.


Opinion: Are We Loving Our Forests to Death?

Article credited to Outdoorhub:


Opinion: Are We Loving Our Forests to Death?

James L. Cummins


Editor’s noteBoone and Crockett Club Vice President James L. Cummins recently wrote an interesting and insightful op-ed that explains how people charged with managing our public lands are actually causing more harm than good when it comes to national forests. His text is below. Read and learn.

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Eli Lilly Exploring Spinoff of Elanco Animal-Health Business

Article credited to Wall Street Journal:


Eli Lilly Exploring Spinoff of Elanco Animal-Health Business

Unit is successful but the veterinary sector is facing more competition


Peter Loftus and

Cara Lombardo

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MARTINO: Researchers offer insight on whitetail deer’s vision

Article credited to Kokomo Tribune:


MARTINO: Researchers offer insight on whitetail deer’s vision

  • By JOHN MARTINO Outdoors columnist

SHADES: The eyes of whitetail deer contain only two types of photo pigments, giving them dichromatic color vision.

  • Submitted photo


MARTINO: Researchers offer insight on whitetail deer's vision


It’s a question asked since sportsmen have been mandated to wear “hunter orange” during specific deer hunting seasons. Are deer color blind or do you stick out like a blazing pumpkin? Everyone knows a deer’s best defense is its nose, but what about its eyes?

At a Quality Deer Management Association’s annual conference, researchers from the University of Georgia’s School of Forestry and Natural Resources presented findings of their in-depth study on whitetail vision.

[Read More]

NEWS : Moon Bear Forced to Have Gigantic Tongue Removed by Team of Vets


Moon Bear Forced to Have Gigantic Tongue Removed by Team of Vets

There’s a bear recovering at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Veterinary Studies that had to have emergency surgery to remove its tongue after it had become so monstrous, it hung out of its mouth and dragged on the floor.

Just to give you some perspective, the bear’s tongue grew so large, it weighed 6.5 pounds!

“I’ve worked with bears for over 10 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Heather Bacon from the University of Edinburgh said. “It’s pretty astonishing.”

The bear is reportedly an Asiatic black bear, and was rescued by monks from a monastery in Myanmar. Not long after saving the bear, they realized something wasn’t quite right, and contacted somebody for help.

Having not heard of anything like it, Bacon, along with several other vet specialists, traveled to Myanmar to get a look at the bear.

After an examination, the veterinary team came to the conclusion that the swelling may have been caused by a mosquito-transmitted infection called elephantiasis – a condition commonly found in people in Myanmar, but never before documented in bears.

According to The Guardian, the doctors had a long discussion about what was best for the bear in the long run, and ultimately decided to move forward with the procedure to remove the bear’s tongue.

“We had a lot of discussion and debate because it’s a major surgery that you cannot undo, but we felt in terms of his quality of life it was the best way to give him as normal a life as possible,” continued Bacon. “Having to carry around [6.5 pound] of tongue is not normal and that’s a lot of weight on his jaw and head. Also, since he was dragging it around on the floor, from a hygiene point of view it’s pretty unpleasant, and he couldn’t even close his mouth. Now he should be able to close his mouth and manipulate food.”

[Read More]

Exotic Wildlife Association NEWS ALERT

Article credited to Exotic Wildlife Association:


Exotic Wildlife Association
“Promoting Conservation through Commerce”



Hunters Reminded of South Texas 
Fever Tick Quarantines
This update provided by the Texas Animal Health Commission
Austin, TX – Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) and United States Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services (USDA-VS) officials are reminding hunters in South Texas that additional precautions are required when handling white-tailed deer, nilgai antelope, black buck, axis deer, and other exotics located on fever tick quarantined premises.
Portions of Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Wells, Kinney, Kleberg, Live Oak, Maverick, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata counties have established fever tick quarantine areas and 37 additional Texas counties have individual premises quarantined.
“Hunters play a critical roll in protecting the state from fever tick expansion,” said Dr. Andy Schwartz, TAHC Executive Director, “and we are asking for their help this hunting season to ensure this tick is not inadvertently transported to unaffected areas of the state when harvested deer or exotics are moved from quarantined premises.”
Landowners, lessees, or other individuals who plan to harvest, move or capture white-tailed deer, nilgai antelope, or other exotic animals located on an infested, exposed, adjacent, or check quarantined premises must have the animals inspected and treated by a TAHC or USDA-VS representative before moving off the premises.
“The inspection and treatment process is fairly quick and simple,” said Dr. TR Lansford, TAHC Assistant Executive Director for Animal Health Programs. “Hunters must notify their TAHC region office or a USDA-VS representative after harvesting an animal and before movement, so the hides can be inspected and treated.”
All inspected hides, capes, and animals will be issued a movement permit after treatment and the movement permit must accompany the animal or animal parts at all times.

To learn more about the TAHC and USDA-VS wildlife inspection requirements, visit this Link. 

Exotic Wildlife Association

Charly Seale, Executive Director

105 Henderson Branch Rd., West
Ingram, Texas 78025
October 20, 2017
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Exotic Wildlife Association, 105 Henderson Branch Rd., West, Ingram, TX 78025
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CWD Management & Regulations for Hunters

Article credited to Texas Parks & Wildlife:

CWD Management & Regulations for Hunters

Mandatory CWD Testing Requirements


New regulations for the 2017-18 hunting season include the establishment of chronic wasting disease (CWD) management zones. Hunters who harvest mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, red deer, or other CWD susceptible species within the Trans-Pecos, Panhandle, and South-Central Texas CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones are REQUIRED to bring their animals to a TPWD check station within 48 hours of harvest. TPWD urges voluntary sampling of hunter harvested deer outside of these zones. The new rules also impose restriction of permitted deer movements to and from CWD zones.

Hunters should also be aware of rules banning importation of certain deer, elk, and other CWD susceptible species carcass parts from states where the disease has been detected, as well as the movement of the same carcass parts from CWD zones. The rules are part of the state’s comprehensive CWD management plan to determine the prevalence and geographic extent of the disease and to contain the disease to the areas where it is known to exist.

See the CWD Management & Regulations for Hunters PDF for details, regulations, check station information, and carcass movement restrictions.

Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) has statewide mandatory testing requirements of exotic CWD susceptible species such as elk, red deer, sika, moose, reindeer, and any associated subspecies and hybrids. Please go to the Texas Animal Health Commission website for more information.

[Read More]

Cattle & Bison Health

Cattle & Bison Health


Anthrax is a naturally occurring disease affecting deer, cattle, exotic livestock, horses, swine, dogs and humans. It is caused by Bacillus anthracis; a spore-forming bacteria. The bacteria can remain alive, but dormant in the soil for several years.

Anthrax is found worldwide, but in Texas, cases are most often confined to a triangular area bound by the towns of Uvalde, Ozona and Eagle Pass. This area includes portions of Crockett, Val Verde, Sutton, Edwards, Kinney and Maverick Counties.


Brucellosis is a contagious disease of cattle, bison, swine, and other ruminant animals that can also affect humans. The disease in cattle is also known as contagious abortion or “Bang’s disease”. In humans, it’s known as undulant fever because of the intermittent fever it causes.

In animals, brucellosis can cause decreased milk production, weight loss, loss of young, infertility, and lameness. The disease in cattle is caused by the bacterium Brucella abortus, though other species of Brucella bacteria can cause disease in a variety of other species.

Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be spread from animals to people, but eradication efforts along with modern sanitary practices and pasteurization of milk products have greatly decreased the frequency of human infections.

Fever Ticks

Cattle Fever Ticks, known scientifically as Rhipicephalus (formerly Boophilus) annulatus and R. microplus, are a significant threat to the United States cattle industry.

These ticks are capable of carrying the protozoa, or microscopic parasits, Babesia bovis or B. bigemina, commonly known as cattle fever. The Babesia organism attacks and destroys red blood cells, causing acute anemia, high fever, and enlargement of the spleen and liver, ultimately resulting in death for up to 90 percent of susceptible naive cattle.

The fever tick has been a threat to American agriculture for generations. The disease caused enormous economic losses to the U.S. cattle industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Since that time, the TAHC and the USDA – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Veterinary Services works together to protect the state and nation from the pest and its repercussions.

Today, portions of 11 South Texas counties have established fever tick quarantines. The counties include, Cameron, Live Oak, Hidalgo, Jim Wells, Kinney, Kleberg, Maverick, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata.

There are three types of Fever Tick Quarantine Areas; The Permanent Fever Tick Quarantine “Buffer” Zone, a Control Purpose Quarantine Area, and a Temporary Preventative Quarantine Area. To learn more about the statewide fever tick response, please visit the TAHC Monthly Fever Tick Situation Report.

Within quarantine areas, all livestock (cattle and equine) and live or hunted wildlife (such as nilgai antelope and white-tailed deer) that are capable of hosting fever ticks, are subject to movement restrictions, inspections and treatment as prescribed by TAHC fever tick regulations.For questions about dipping or spraying your livestock, please contact your local TAHC Region office or USDA County Office.

Fever Tick Quarantines

Current Fever Tick Quarantine Notices & Maps

Past Fever Tick Quarantine Notices & Maps


Cattle trichomoniasis or “Trich” is a venereal disease of cattle caused by the Tritrichomonas foetus protozoa, which is about the size of a sperm. Infected bulls carry the organism on their penis and prepuce. Trichomoniasis is then transmitted to cows through breeding. Cows may abort early in the pregnancy and become temporarily infertile. Only testing will confirm the presence or absence of the disease.

Cattle producers can lose valuable income from the extended breeding seasons and diminished calf crops caused by this disease. The cattle industry and trade associations in Texas requested that the Texas Animal Health Commission develop regulations to stop the introduction and spread of this disease.

TAHC’s Trichomoniasis regulations were developed with a working group of producers, market operators, veterinarians, laboratory representatives and educators. Under the program that was phased in beginning April 2009, Trichomoniasis is a reportable disease in Texas. The program will be reviewed annually by the Trichomoniasis Review Working Group.

For Producers: Find a Trichomoniasis Certified VeterinarianView a list of veterinarians that have authorized TAHC to publish their information. To determine if a veterinarian not listed is TAHC Bovine Trichomoniasis Certified, please call your TAHC Region Office.

Cattle Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a chronic, debilitating disease of cattle and bison caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis. Human tuberculosis is caused by a closely related type of bacteria and was historically known as “consumption”. A variety of other species may be susceptible to cattle tuberculosis, including captive elk and exotic deer, bison, goats, swine, man and cats. Sheep and horses are rarely affected.

TB is primarily a respiratory disease affecting lungs and chest lymph nodes. Symptoms can include progressive weight loss, chronic cough, and unexplained death losses.

TB has a long incubation period (months to years) and was once the most prevalent infectious disease of cattle and swine in the United States. Bovine TB caused more losses among U.S. farm animals in the early part of this century than all other infectious diseases combined. Through a cooperative state-federal program, bovine tuberculosis has been nearly eradicated from livestock in the US. Texas has been declared free of TB, but constant vigilance is crucial to maintaining that TB-free status.

[Read More]

What Happens to Animals During a Forest Fire?

Article credited to Care2:

What Happens to Animals During a Forest Fire?

By now you have likely heard about the massive and out-of-control forest fire currently raging around Yosemite National Park in California. I not only heard about it last week, I encountered the beast right after it exploded like an angry fire-breathing dragon bent on mass destruction.

My family was on our way to the Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp, just outside the West Gate of Yosemite for a wonderful week of old fashioned summer camp fun when we were stopped by park rangers: “No traffic is going through the West Gate due to a fire that suddenly exploded from 50 acres to 800 and jumped the highway.”

At that point, we had no doubt the fire was not only quickly growing, but also dangerously close, as the darkened smokey afternoon sky was now raining ash upon our car. Turning around was obviously the only option. Silently, I fretted over the fate of our beloved camp, a historic camp that many California families refer to as their “favorite place on earth.”

After a 12-hour drive, I was lamenting the fact that we were only 20 minutes away from Tuolumne Family Camp and yet so far, now that a blazing fire stood between us and a week of fun, when my youngest daughter exclaimed in a very worried voice, “But Mama, where will all of the forest animals go?”

My two daughters are always worried about the welfare of animals and Ella’s question jerked me back to the present. I told her that animals have much better eyes, ears and noses than we do and when they sensed the danger they quickly fled to safety. That is what I guessed to be true anyhow, and it seemed like the best thing to say to a now very anxious 7-year old child watching ash and smoke swirl around us.

But silently again, I wondered, where DO all of the animals go? Are they able to escape or do firefighters find gruesome carcass after carcass as they themselves chase the fire “mopping” up any hot spots that could flare up again. I could not recall hearing such stories, so I placed my bet on the animals’ evolved instinct to flee fire long before real danger presents itself.

As soon as I had internet access again, I looked up my daughter’s question. My answer was fortunately quite accurate: in the aftermath of a forest fire surprisingly few animals are found dead. Animals, whether feathered, furred or scaled have memory of fire embedded in their limbic brains. The first hint of smoke, the first whoosh of dry grass going up in flames or the popping of wood are easily registered by wild animals at great distances, so rarely are they completely caught off guard and thus they have plenty of time to flee. The most vulnerable, of course, are the old, the very young and the sick or injured. Those that can flee by wing, foot, hooves or slither, do so, while others not so fast or just too small, burrow underground and wait for the impending disaster to pass overhead.

Case in point: In 1988, Yellowstone National Park infamously went up in flames – and so much so, that for the first time in the park’s history, the entire park was shut down. Speculation went as wild as the fire as to what would happen to the park animals. Many anticipated a scorched landscape littered with charred carcasses.

Yet, despite months of raging fire through the park, in the end the flames and smoke claimed very few animals. Surveys post-fire revealed that of 40,000 – 50,000 elk in the park, only 345 were found dead, a very small percentage of the overall population. Additionally, the survey noted that 36 mule deer, 6 black bears, 12 moose, 9 bison and 1 grizzly succumbed to the 1988 fire, and while sad, it is important to note that the vast majority of large animals survived. Rodents and other small animals had the highest mortality rates due to their small size, but still the fatality numbers were still much lower than one might expect. About one hundred fish were discovered dead, but their deaths were blamed on fire retardant water contamination rather than the fire itself.

Animals, forests and forest fires are all part of a natural healthy cycle – and in fact many plants and animals depend on naturally occurring wildfire to flourish. For example, many pine tree require the intense heat of a forest fire to open their cones and release their seeds. No fire, no new trees. The Red Cockaded Woodpecker, the Swainson’s Warbler, many types of quail, foxes, bears, squirrels and other animals depend on fire to keep undergrowth in check. Consequently, all forest-dwelling plants and animals have co-evoloved with the inevitable fires and have found ways to adapt.

So do animals need our help escaping from wildfires? “Not really,” says Mike McMillan with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

But, he adds, “It is up to all of us to take care of our precious public lands, and the amazing creatures that live there.”



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Animal health after flood

Animal health after flood

Floods can bring a range of animal health problems, from food shortage and plant toxicity to dehydration, infection and disease.

Pasture and crops damaged by flooding may leave farmers needing to find alternative feed for stock over the coming months.

In particular, mould growth on water damaged feed reduced the nutritive value and palatability of both standing and stored feed, with some mould toxicity causing death or longer-term health problems such as liver damage.

Surprisingly, dehydration can be a problem with stock often refusing to drink flood water if it is polluted or tastes different from their normal supply. It’s important to watch your stock carefully to ensure they are drinking adequately.

While rain and floods may fill dams, flood waters carry silt and organic material, so it is important to be on the look-out for algal blooms on polluted dams and waterways.

Foot problems are another concern with all stock susceptible after long periods of immersion in water or standing on wet, muddy ground. Abscesses and other foot problems will be common where an animal’s feet are constantly wet.

The very wet season is also likely to produce larger than usual insect populations with flystrike likely to occur in sheep after wetting, especially if they have a thick wool cover.

Even when the fleece dries out, problems such as fleece rot and lumpy wool would continue to attract flies while diseases spread by flies, such as pinkeye, could become more widespread.

Most bacteria thrive and multiply in a moist environment, so bacterial diseases could become a real problem after heavy rain. Pneumonia and diarrhoea are also likely to occur in flood-affected stock due to stress and exposure to prolonged cold.

Mastitis is a problem for cross-bred ewes grazing tall grass as a result of the combined effects of udder engorgement due to lush feed, udder abrasions and flies. Vaccinating with 5-in-1 after floods is important as the sudden flush of feed make stock susceptible to pulpy kidney.

Bloat in cattle or redgut in sheep could occur, especially on lush clover or lucerne.

Worm larvae survive much longer on pasture in moist conditions and parasite burdens may increase rapidly.

For further advice please contact your local veterinarian or a departmental veterinary or Animal Health Officer.

Hurricane Hawk Seeks Refuge in Houston Taxi


Hurricane Hawk Seeks Refuge in Houston Taxi

Houston cab driver William Bruso made a series of 10 videos on YouTube after gaining the winged sidekick, who he says refused to leave after hopping in his car on Friday.

Apparently, Bruso was stocking up on some survival supplies ahead of the catastrophic storm, when he returned to his vehicle to find the bird starring back at him from the passenger seat.

Here’s the first of 10 videos:

It was inevitable that this bird of prey refugee earned the nickname “Harvey the Hurricane Hawk” from Bruso, and the name seemed to stick after people started seeing the videos.

Eventually, an officer with the Texas Wildlife Rehab Coalition (TWRC) came to retrieve the hawk, because it’s a wild animal and needs professional care. Bruso posted the last video with the title: “FINAL UPDATE! Sgnt Harvey is in GREAT hands now!”

Bayer and partners help create pollinator habitat

Bayer and partners help create pollinator habitat

When most people think about Bayer, they automatically think of aspirin, the company’s most famous product. What they probably don’t know is that the company has also been helping with pollinator health for more than 30 years.

At the Partnerships for Healthy Pollinators session at the TWS Annual Conference in Albuquerque, N.M., Becky Langer, the project manager with Bayer Bee Care and Brood Acre Food Chain, discussed some of the ways partnerships, like the one with TWS, have helped benefit bee species.

“We often get caught up in thinking that pollinators are important for our food supplies, which is true, but it’s also important for a functional ecosystem,” Langer said.

Langer discussed challenges for both managed and unmanaged — or wild — bees in the United States, but she said both of types work well for crop pollination. By promoting healthy hives and controlling disease, she said, Bayer helps combat some of these challenges, such as incidental pesticide exposure, lack of forage or nutrition and urbanization.

The company also launched the Feed a Bee program in 2015, planting wildflowers on meadows, rights of ways and other areas to improve pollinator habitat. “This can become an all-you-can-eat buffet for pollinators if we manage that correctly,” Langer said.

The Wildlife Society, now one of 127 of Bayer Feed a Bee’s partners, has been involved in the “Tweet a Bee, Feed a Bee” initiative. For each Tweet using the #FeedABee hashtag, Bayer pledged to plant wildflowers on their “bee-half.”

Scott Longing, an assistant professor of entomology at Texas Tech University, said he partnered with Bayer Bee Care to implement pollinator forage in Texas. The region faced issues such as colony collapse disorder and disease, he said.

Bayer increased pollinator foraging habitat with the Feed a Bee Program as well as a 2016 National Pollinator Planting event, he said. The company ended up creating two different pollinator fields where they planted native grasses and other seeds.

“If you’re thinking about developing a pollinator habitat or a demonstration plot, I would take the first year to do nothing but prepping the area,” Longing said. He also said taking into account species such as jackrabbits and harvester ants, which eat many of these seeds, is important in managing pollinator habitat.

So far, he said, he has seen an increase in bees and other pollinators in the area. “’If you build it, they will come’ looks to be true,” he said.

Animal Health

Deer-like Animals (cervids) 

As with the goat and sheep-like animals, most deer will do quite well in collections around the world without vaccinations. Optimal management  techniques, proper diet, uncrowded facilities and  isolation from new stock and other ruminants that might bring disease into the facility are sufficient to maintain good health.
But there are situations where optimal density and husbandry are not practical solutions. Breeding herds of whitetail deer, reindeer and elk require higher animal densities and supplemental feeding; animal densities in zoos are quite high as well. And some diseases, like Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, Bluetongue. West Nile Fever and the clostridial disease are not dependent on animal density. The first three are carried by biting insects that can be blown onto the premises from quite some distance away. When the surrounding area experiences an outbreak or birds migrate through the area, good management may not sufficient to protect the deer from insect carriers. (ref1ref2ref3)

Here in Texas, there is potentially a third (genetic) problem. Breeding whitetail deer is a $900 million+ industry directed at producing “genetically superior trophy bucks” However, what “genetically superior” in this case means is a large deer with an enormous rack of antlers – not a “scrub” deer with the resistance to disease and resilience that Nature intended. (ref)

Similar genetics manipulations for specific market traits make New Zealand red deer population and reindeer quite different in their disease susceptibility than their wild cousins that are culled by natural selection. (ref)

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease & Bluetongue    EHD  & BTV

In the United States, more deer are vaccinated against Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease than anything else. That is because these two diseases are the number one threat to commercial deer breeding here.  Deer concentrated in breeding facilities are hardest hit, but even those in the wild are thought to have experienced 20% losses. Most other hoofstock become silently infected and form protective antibodies without ever showing disease symptoms. (ref)

EHD/BTV are a group of related Orbivirus that sporadically (off and on) cause disease in all areas of the world where cattle and sheep production occur and the biting midges that transmit it are found.  These virus exist in many serotypes or strains with little cross-immunity protection. The primary viruses responsible for the yearly epidemics change from year to year. That is why a commercial vaccine with a stable formulation has never been available. United States laws allow for “custom” vaccine production incorporating virus or bacteria obtained from a particular herd. The vaccine has its limitations. It is not always effective and it is unclear if that is because infection was with viral strains not included in the vaccine, administration errors, specific deer genetics, concurrent disease or ineffective vaccine.

Because EHD/BTV disease often appears in a herds only every few years, it is unclear if the vaccine was responsible for the years EHD/BTV did not cause mortalities. Regulations that govern the testing of custom-made vaccines such as EHD/BTV are less stringent than those that receive permanent USDA approval. To the best of my knowledge, the producers do not have to submit evidence that the vaccines are effective.

The manufacturers, Newport Laboratories, suggest the vaccine be given to fawns at weaning and boosted in 3-4 weeks and then given to does prior to breeding to give some temporary immunity to the fawns.

Malignant Catarrhal Fever  MCF

This is another viral disease of wide distribution wherever sheep and goats are farmed or in areas of Africa inhabited by wildebeest. There are at least 10 strains of the Alcelaphine (antelope) Herpes virus that cause it (AHV-1 of wildebeest, AHV-2 caprine/goat and ovine/sheep forms).
Although one study found 61% of goats and 3% of sheep carried or had been exposed to MCF, almost no sheep and few goats become ill. (ref) Farmed deer and Zoo deer in epidemic areas, however, are particularly susceptible. (ref1ref2) It has been a particularly lethal problem in farmed European red deer in New Zealand and elsewhere. Caribou herds in close contact with sheep have also been affected.

The MCF virus has been particularly difficult to grow in the laboratory; so as of 2014, there are no commercially available vaccines – although some are in development. (ref)

Respiratory/Diarrhea Complex

Pneumonia and diarrhea are the two most common causes of death in intensively farmed deer in North America. (ref) Some producers administer, custom vaccines produced against a very large number of organisms that are commonly isolated from deer in those cases. Those vaccines commonly contain Pasteurella multocida, Fusobacterium necrophorumE. coliMannheimia haemolyticaArcanobacterium pyogenesBibersteinia trehalosi , Truperella pyogenes and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae. Many also include EHD/BTV protection – all in a single vaccine. Their use is controversial, the benefits of the vaccine hard to evaluate.

Antibodies against three of the common cattle respiratory virus (IBR, BVD, PI-3) are found in caribou and elk – but they appear resistant to disease and generally remained free of symptoms in natural settings. (ref) The same is true in whitetail deer. (ref)

In intensive North American deer farming, deer have both been vaccinated with inactivated cattle vaccines widely used in the dairy industry. Some utilize Boehringer Ingelheim’s Triangle 9 at 12 and 16 weeks of age and boost annually.

Clostridial Diseases

Deer, like all ruminants, can be vaccinated against the clostridial diseases utilizing vaccines approved for sheep, goats and cattle. (ref) The vaccines are effective. Depending on disease experience within the group, either a Clostridium enterotoxemia/C. perfringens/tetanus vaccine is used (aka “CDT”,“CD&T or “CD3+T”) or a broad spectrum clostridial vaccines such as Novartis’ Clostri Shield 7 or Merck’s Calvary 9 (all generally at 3 months and boosted 2 wks later, then annually). Some reindeer breeders alternate years, giving the 7 or 8-way one year and the CDT the next.

Deer and other hoof stock are susceptible to fatal clostridial overgrowth when they are fed inappropriate diets that are too high in simple sugars, starch or protein (low NDF/NDR rations) (ref)  Most deer, other than elk, are browse nibblers and some, such as moose (and reindeer/caribou), do quite poorly when forced to eat  nutrient-rich diets suitable for cattle. (ref) Those differing feeding habits and abilities to process nutrients are sometimes not sufficiently appreciated. (ref) Also, as with the larger bovine ruminants, excessive consumption of farmed vs wild produce (“fast-fermentors”) favors hindgut acidosis due to their high sugar and starch content (ref) and the overgrowth of clostridia. (ref1ref2) So does the free access to rich pasture like alfalfa (lucerne), or over-access in hay or cube form.  When nutrient-rich diets cannot be avoided, vaccination against the clostridia is a valid and effective option.


Some Zoos, such as the National Zoo in Washington, DC, do make tetanus vaccination a specific goal of their vaccination program. Most others, give tetanus protection to hoofstock as as a side benefit of using a “CDT”,“CD&T” or “CD3+T” vaccine directed primarily against Clostridium perfringens. The few remaining forrest raindeer now residing at the Helsinki Zoo receive yearly vaccination with Merck’s EQUILIS® te, a univalet tetanus product designed for horses.


Certain strains of the bacteria, Escherichia coli, are capable of causing fatal diarrhea in young deer. Generally, those are offspring that, for one reason or another, did not receive sufficient colostral antibody in their first days of life. Even after the short window of time the doe’s milk antibodies can pass into the fawn’s blood stream, fawns still benefit from the protective value of antibodies present in the doe’s milk within the fawns intestine. We are still uncertain if colibacillosis scours is due to insufficient maternal antibody or if certain strains of E. coli are more able to break antibody resistance than others (invasive serotypes) , or if both those factors are involved. Collibacillosis problems are common in young elk, red deer and reindeer in farmed or crowded situations. Both diarrhea and meningitis occur.

Newport Laboratories markets a multivalent vaccine that incorporates several deer isolates of E. coli along with other pathogens. In the past, a killed K99E Colivaccine was given to pregnant does and boosted 2-4 wks closer to parturition in the hopes of boosting the antibody content of their colostrum. It has never been confirmed that that technique is effective.

Several other ruminant pathogens can be involved in scours in young deer. Merck’s Guardian®  Calf scours vaccine contains the K99E strain of E. coli along with some of those other common pathogens.  Although I know of no deer breeders using it, one respected Canadian expert considers vaccines of that nature to be, at the least, harmless. (ref) Some US fallow and whitetail breeders utilize Boehringer Ingelheim’s Bar-Guard 99TM oral E. coli K99 whole cell antibodies to provide passive (temporary)  immunity against E. coli K99 in their new born deer (2-3cc/deer).


Leptospirosis is not a common disease among deer in zoos or farmed in North America. When the disease is seen, rodent and raccoon vectors contaminating water sources and the environment with their urine are thought to be the primary sources (although even stray cats are a potential vector). (ref) In Nevada bison, wood rats arriving in round bales were thought to be the source. Leptospirosis is not a significant problem in wild deer in North America, although whitetail deer, elk and moose occasionally have antibodies as evidence of prior exposure.

New Zealand has an extensive deer and elk farming industry. It rivals, and perhaps surpasses, Texas in its scale. In New Zealand, leptospirosis has been a recurrent problem in deer herds since the 1980s. (ref1ref2)   In those herds, Leptospira pomona causes abortions, and elevated losses of nursing and recently weaned deer. Those infected with L. Hardjo-bovis are less likely to suffer overt disease. L. i.  Copenhageni has also been isolated.

Merck markets two leptospirosis vaccines approved for use in deer in New Zealand,  Leptavoid® 2 (L. .Pomona and L Hardjo antigens) approved for sheep, beef, dairy cattle, swine and deer or Leptavoid® 3 (inactivated Leptospira interrogans serotypes Pomona, Hardjo and Icterohaemorrhagiae antigens)  for beef, dairy cattle and deer. Both are extensively used in the deer industry. (ref) Young deer are vaccinate at about 3 months of age and boosted 4-6 weeks later. Unvaccinated adults get a “sensitizer” (initial vaccination) in the neck and a booster 4-6 weeks later. After that, they are boosted yearly – does about 3 weeks prior to calving. Some fallow and whitetail breeders in the USA, utilize Merck’s Covexin® 8 leptospirosis vaccine (2cc at 12 & 16 wks, boosters yearly).

Pasteurellosis  Pasteurella multocida, Hemorrhagic Septicemia

Pasteurella multocida and similar pasteurella are found the upper respiratory tract , mouth and throat (pharynx) of many animals that are not ill. In those locations, they are considered part of the animal’s natural bacterial flora. However, under stress, the organism can move into the lungs, causing pneumonia, into regional lymph nodes causing abscesses, or into the blood stream causing septicemia (“blood poisoning”).  Many strains or serovars exist. Some cause common snuffles in rabbits, some are responsible for fowl cholera of chickens, turkeys ducks and geese others are involved in atrophic rhinitis of swine. Strains appear to vary in their ability to cause disease. Most, if not all, can jump from one species to another. It is one of the organisms commonly involved in shipping fever of cattle. Outbreaks in deer often follow periods of stress. (ref1ref2)

In New Zealand deer farms and zoos, it is associated with stressors including transport, inadequate nutrition, overcrowding, concurrent viral infections, inclement weather (especially hot temperatures) heavy rains and wind and high parasite loads (particularly  lungworms). (rptref)

One of the many shotgun vaccines prepared by Newport Laboratories contains inactivated Pasteurella multocida, along with EHDV virus, BTV (bluetongue) virus, Mannheimia (Pasteurella)  Haemolytica, , Fusobacterium Necrophorum, Clostridium Perfringens Type A and Arcanobacterium Pyogenes.

Necrobacillosis Fusobacterium necrophorum, Lumpy Jaw, Foot Rot, etc

Fusobacterium disease has so many names because it presents in so many different ways and in so many species of animals. The “lumpy jaw” form is often seen in kangaroos. It is a common pathogen isolated from sick deer. In young deer, the infections is often systemic and leads to rapid death, in older deer, longer term foot or mouth and throat lesions are more common. The organism generally enters the deer’s body through a cut or scrape and forms an abscess – often not far from the point of entry. The most common form in whitetail deer are abscesses of the jaw aka “Lumpy Jaw” – It can be found alone or in association with other pathogens like Actinomyces. I have also seen it present as paralysis due to infection of the spine.  Exposure to these organisms can not be prevented as it is often present in the intestinal tract of disease-free animals. Many species of deer throughout the world develop fusobacterium-related disease when they are subjected to overcrowding, malnutrition, or chronic stress that lowers their immune resistance.

Fusobacterium is another of the antigens incorporated in Newport Lab’s bacterin vaccines for deer. Another option is Novartis’ FUSOGARD® (It is an “off label” use, The product is labeled for use in cattle). Neither have been scientifically tested for their effectiveness in deer and neither are an acceptable alternative to husbandry changes that lessen the likelihood of the disease. A primary and booster vaccination are required. The first is generally given to young fawns (1/4 CC Fusogard Sub Q at 2-3 weeks of age, revaccinated in 2-3 weeks).

A group of venerable microbiologist that direct  the IUMS, seem compelled to periodically give bacteria completely new names designed to confuse veterinarians and others that are concerned with animal health. The next two bacteria, currently called Truperella and Bibersteinia, led a number of prior lives under various different aliases.

Truperella pyogenes (= Arcanobacterium aka Corynebacterium aka Actinomyces ) pyogenes    Cranial Abscessation Syndrome CAS

Bucks are particularly susceptible to infection with this bacteria subsequent to antler damage or loss.  In those instances, Truperella can penetrate the skull and cause abscesses in the brain. The organism is also thought to be capable of causing pneumonia  – at least it is often found with other bacteria in deer with severe lung disease. It is a common isolate in postpartum metritis (after-calving womb infections) of dairy cattle. (ref)   Truperella was thought to be a common opportunistic pathogen – only taking advantaged (opportunistic) of a stress-weakened animal or working in tandem with other bacteria to cause disease. (ref)   But in some cases, it was thought to capable of causing illness in deer on its own. (ref)

T. pyogenes is another organism incorporated in Newport Laboratories multivalent inactivated deer vaccines.  Penned deer occasionally have recurrent losses due to what they still call A. pyogenes (Truperella) associated lung infections. Since the 1980s, a custom bacterin produced against A. pyogenes was the only vaccine the Kerrville Texas Whitetail Deer Center administered to their deer. In 2014, they changed to the Newport Labs 9-way due to the expense and time involved in ordering a univalent (single bacterial ingredient) custom vaccine.

Bibersteinia trehalosi aka Pasteurella haemolytica type T aka Pasteurella trehalosi, aka Mannheimia haemolytica

This is another organism that is chiefly a problem in the deer farming industry. It is also an ingredient in Newport Laboratories 9-way (multivalent)  pneumonia/fawn diarrhea vaccines. Like many of the organisms contained in that vaccine, B. trehalosi is a common inhabitant of the upper airways of deer and sheep.

Under non-stressful conditions, they causes no disease. When the animal’s immunity is decreased due to other issues, it takes advantage of the situation to invade other areas of the body. One of those underlying causes that allow B. trehalosi to become pathogenic are heavy lungworm infections due to overcrowding and cohabitation with cattle and domestic sheep. But B. trehalosi is almost never the sole underlying cause of a health problem.

Yersinia pseudotuberculosis Yersiniosis

Pseudotuberculosis or yersiniosis is another disease that occasionally causes illness in deer. The organism is widely distributed in animals so deer exposure is quite likely to occur. But like the preceding two organisms, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis only causes disease when the animals immune system has been weakened or the animals are under stress. That can be the stress associated with weaning, hard winters, crowding, poor nutrition or inclement, rainy weather. Some strains and species of farmed deer may be more genetically susceptible to yersiniosis than others. There are many serotypes (strains, serovars) of the organism. Some are thought to me more pathogenic than others. Yersiniosis is a major health issue in farmed deer in New Zealand. These are usually deer in their first year that experience severe diarrhea and subsequently die of dehydration and blood acid/base disturbances. It sporadically (occasionally) kills small hoofstock in zoos as well.

In New Zealand, Merck markets YERSINIAVAX® vaccine, composed of  inactivated Yersinia pseudotuberculosis serotypes I, II, III. The product is approved for use in deer. Two ml of the vaccine are given in the neck sc, 3-6 weeks apart – prior to anticipated periods of stress. The vaccine is said to be quite effective. The veterinary school in Utrecht, Netherlands made available another killed pseudotuberculosis vaccine for use in European zoos (Pseudovac®). I do not know if it is currently available.

West Nile Virus WNV, West Nile Fever

West Nile Fever is a mosquito-transmitted, viral disease that occurs on all continents in a wild variety of animals including deer. Most cases are subclinical – no disease signs or only mild illnesses being noticed before antibodies rise high enough to purge the virus from the animal’s body. But occasional cases lead to fatal encephalitis.

Some believe that native North American deer are naturally immune to the disease effects of WNV. That although they are commonly exposed to the virus, they overcome it without visible illness.   Others believe that the WNV does not replicate in deer. One study found 0.9% of hunter-bagged deer in New Jersey has been exposed to WNV. West Nile virus is certainly not a currently important cause of death or illness in wild whitetail deer.  One fatal case in a wild whitetail deer has been reported. (ref)

The situation in North America’s farmed reindeer has been different since 2002. Since then, Minnesota and Wisconsin breeders have experienced a number of WNV cases in their stock. Being a new problem for them, it was first suspected that the staggering and nervous system symptoms were do to Chronic Wasting disease or brain worms. Eventually WNF was found to to be the cause. Many reindeer breeders now immunize their animals using schedules and vaccines that have been successfully used in llamas and alpacas. Most use Merial’s RECOMBITEK® Equine rWNV vaccine (some had tried Zoetis’ WEST NILE-INNOVATOR in an initial trial (ref) but experienced reactions in their herds). In llamas, three IM injections of the Merial vaccine given at 3-5 week intervals stimulated adequate antibody response. I do not know if similar data on effectiveness exists for reindeer, but many reindeer breeders follow the llama protocol. The vaccinations are begun in early spring, prior to mosquito season. Vaccination of pregnant females is avoided.  Boosters given the following springs.  Some run blood titers and only give the complete initial 3-shot series to animals that have no titer.

Rabid Deer Discovered Leaves Experts Puzzled


Rabid Deer Discovered Leaves Experts Puzzled

The disease is far from ordinary to see in deer, and even experts can only speculate as to how the disease was contracted.

“We’re not certain how it was contracted,” said Fairley Mahlum, spokeswoman for N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “It’s possible that it might have been eating a pile of corn and was bitten by a rabid raccoon. Rabies has to be contracted by saliva. But we don’t know for sure.”

Rabies, along with chronic wasting disease (CWD), can come with a myriad of similar symptoms in affected deer. The wildlife commission has already received several reports of deer having trouble standing up, no fear of humans, and a serious lack of coordination.

According to Citizen-Times, biologists collected and tested multiple animals for rabies, including two deer, only one of which with alopecia (loss of hair) tested positive for rabies.

Rabies can affect all mammals, including humans, however deer rarely get tested for the disease simply because there generally isn’t a reason to believe they’ve been infected. Symptoms can include lethargy, loss of balance, unexplained aggressiveness and eye or nose discharge.

Deer hunters should take the following measures to prevent contracting the disease:

  • Do not handle or eat any animal that is acting abnormal or appears to be sick.
  • Wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing.
  • Minimize the handling of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Do not allow pets around field dressing area to prevent contact with blood and other tissues.
  • Wash hands, boots and instruments thoroughly after completing field dressing.
  • If you have your deer commercially processed, request your animal is processed individually and without meat from other animals.
  • Use proper cooking temperatures to ensure safe food.