Game and Fish wildlife biologist Cheyenne Stewart talks with BLM employees about Chronic Wasting Disease on Thursday morning in the parking lot of the Buffalo Field Office for the Bureau of Land Management. CWD is a prion disease caused by a abnormal proteins that is found in deer, elk and sometimes moose. Other prion diseases include mad cow disease for cattle or scrapie for sheep and goats.
McKay Fleck, center, opens an incision on a deer head to find the lymph nodes they need to sample while Leo Duarte helps hold the head and Wade Krist records the data on Thursday morning. The lymph node that is removed for lab testing for CWD is the retro pharyngeal lymph node located between the pharynx and the muscle that surrounds the spine.
Game and Fish wildlife biologist Cheyenne Stewart laughs with the group working on this head after Tate Ulven, left, made the cut to find the nodes on Thursday. The nodes are easiest to find if the neck is stretched out according to Stewart.
Game and Fish works with agencies like the Wyoming Department of Transportation to locate roadkill animals that can potentially be used as samples to test for CWD. All the examples brought to the demonstration on Thursday were recent road kill samples that included one elk and then several deer heads. Certain samples require the removal of a tooth as well as the lymph nodes, which is what is being removed from the bed of the truck.
The roughly fifteen attendees of the demonstration split into smaller groups to practice taking samples on Thursday morning. People rotated between different groups as they finished to see more examples.
In light of the ongoing hunting seasons, Wyoming Game and Fish wildlife biologist Cheyenne Stewart offered a brief class on how to take Chronic Wasting Disease samples on Thursday. Stewart presented to Bureau of Land Management employees so that if anyone brings a carcass by and wants to provide a sample, there are more people available that know how to complete the process. Stewart explained CWD as well as the process of taking a lymph node sample and brought sample roadkill carcasses for everyone to practice on.