The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) has issued a modification order that lists Red deer and Sica deer as “susceptible species” for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), putting the cervids in the same category as elk and moose and requiring strict guidelines for importing from out of state sources. Also this week, TAHC is confirming that a case of anthrax in a Texas animal has been discovered in an adult white-tailed male deer near Uvalde, the first such case in 2012.

The Commission says so far anthrax has not been discovered in domestic livestock but warns the Commission “will continue to closely monitor the situation for possible new cases across the state.”

Anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) is a bacterial disease which is a naturally occurring organism with worldwide distribution, including Texas. It is not uncommon for anthrax to be diagnosed in livestock or wildlife in the Southwest part of the state. In recent years, cases have primarily been confined to a triangular area bounded by the towns of Uvalde, Ozona and Eagle Pass.

In a new development that will affect the state’s exotic wildlife industry, TAHC state veterinarian Dr. Dee Ellis says immediately new entry rules for Red deer and Sica deer will require that the animals originate from herds with at least five years of participation in a herd certification program from states where CWD has been detected, and at least three years participation in programs from states that have not found CWD.

Ellis says the agency’s decision to issue the new entry rules in part was because last month a deer in a famed Red deer herd in Minnesota was confirmed with CWD. As a result of that discovery, the USDA released an interim CWD rule on June 8 which designates Sica deer and Red deer as susceptible species.

The USDA rule is intended to establish minimum requirements for interstate movement of deer, elk, moose, and other susceptible cervids, and to establish a national CWD certification program to limit the movement of infected animals.