Animal HealthDiseasesChronic Wasting DiseaseSigns and Symptoms

Chronic Wasting Disease Signs and Symptoms

A list of clinical signs the animal may or may not display.

CWD is progressive and always fatal. Because the disease has a long incubation period, elk and deer with CWD may not exhibit any visible signs of the disease for a number of years after they become infected. Clinical signs of CWD are usually present a few weeks to several months before the animal dies. Clinical signs may include:

  • behavior changes
  • progressive weight loss, loss of appetite
  • stumbling, tremors, listlessness
  • lack of coordination
  • blank facial expressions
  • excessive salivation, excessive thirst and urination
  • abnormal head posturing, drooping ears
  • difficulty in swallowing

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Department of Livestock
Animal Health Bureau
PO Box 202001
Helena, MT 59620-2001
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