Elk & Deer 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.

Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a progressive, fatal, and degenerative neurological disease belonging to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs).

CWD susceptible species include white-tailed deer, mule deer, black-tailed deer, North American elk or wapiti, red deer, sika deer, moose and any associated subspecies and hybrids. All mule deer, white-tailed deer, and other native species are under the jurisdiction of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

CWD in Texas

The first case of CWD in Texas was discovered in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer in an isolated area of far West Texas. Since that time, 181 additional cervid have tested positive for CWD, ranging from breeder deer to free-ranging deer, and are either white-tailed deer or mule deer. On December 6, 2016, the first free-ranging exotic CWD susceptible species (Elk) tested positive for CWD in Dallam County.

Exotic CWD Susceptible Species

Exotic CWD susceptible species are species that are non-native to Texas and have had at least one diagnosis of CWD confirmed by an official test conducted by a USDA-APHIS laboratory. This includes North American elk or wapiti, black tailed deer, red deer, reindeer, Sika deer, moose, and any associated subspecies and hybrids.

On May 30, 2017 new rules were put in place concerning surveillance and movement requirements for exotic CWD susceptible species.


CWD Herd Programs

The TAHC provides a voluntary herd status program for species that are susceptible to CWD. Those that participate in the program must have a herd inventory performed annually by a TAHC, USDA, or accredited veterinarian. For more information about the CWD herd program, call your TAHC region office or 800-550-8242 x777.

The USDA also has a voluntary herd certification program also, learn more by reading the USDA CWD Herd Certification Program Factsheet

CWD Management

There are regulations statewide for mandatory testing requirements of exotic CWD susceptible species such as elk, red deer, sika, moose, reindeer, and any associated subspecies and hybrids.

In response to the confirmation of CWD in a free-ranging white-tailed deer in Val Verde County on December 19,2019, the TAHC Executive Director established a CWD High Risk Area Containment Zone (CZ) in a portion of the affected area on December 20, 2019. For more information, click on the following links:

There are three other CWD Zones in Texas: Trans-Pecos, Panhandle, and South-Central Texas CWD Containment and Surveillance Zones. Visit the TPWD website for details, regulations, check station information, and carcass movement restrictions.

Certified CWD Postmortem Sample Collector Authorized Personnel Program

The TAHC Certified CWD Postmortem Sample Collector Authorized Personnel Program regulations and requirements apply to a person, other than an accredited veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Texas, who collects and submits samples for official post-mortem CWD testing in Texas.

If you have questions about this program, need to check your certification status, or if you are interested in signing up for an in person class, please contact us at authorized_personnel@tahc.texas.gov or call Laura Leal at (512) 719-0761.

Fever Ticks

All Fever tick information is now located on the TAHC Fever Ticks & Pests page - Click here.


Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that can affect many mammals, including members of the cervidae family. The disease is caused by Mycobacterium bovis. It can be transmitted between livestock, humans, and other animals. The disease is spread through respiratory and oral secretions from infected animals.