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CWD Testing for Farmed Cervids at Inspected Slaughter
Minnesota Ag Connection - 06/26/2020

The Board of Animal Health and USDA approved the use of the CWD ELISA (enzyme-linked immunoassay) test for farmed cervids harvested at state or federally inspected slaughter facilities. This test is a screening test for CWD and can be performed faster than the immunohistochemistry (IHC) test for CWD. IHC is the standard test used on farmed cervids and is required when they die or are harvested on the farm.

The CWD ELISA test requires additional steps in the collection and shipment of samples to the laboratory. Tissues collected from a farmed cervid for the CWD ELISA test must be divided in two parts with half the tissues kept fresh and chilled and the other half put in formalin. All the samples must be shipped to the lab via an overnight carrier. Currently, this test is not available at the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and is being performed at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (WVDL) in Madison, Wisconsin.

Starting July 1, 2020, the Board will pay for testing Minnesota farmed cervids, harvested at state or federally inspected slaughter facilities, using the CWD ELISA test at the WVDL. Producers or the slaughter facilities will be responsible for the cost of packaging and shipping the samples to the Wisconsin lab. The CWD ELISA test results are usually available within 48 to 72 hours after the lab receives them. With a 'not detected' test result on the CWD ELISA test, the slaughter facility can release the inspection-hold on a carcass.

The Board has a customized WVDL submission form and procedure outline that must be used for the Board to cover the costs of this testing at the WVDL. If you are interested in getting more information regarding the use of this test for Minnesota farmed cervids harvested at an inspected slaughter facility, please contact Linda Glaser at 651-249-1963 or

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