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Explaining the Differences in Deer Diseases: EHD vs. CWD

If from the Midwest, you might be unfortunately familiar with EHD. CWD is also becoming more familiar in the whitetail circles, and Dr. Woods explains the difference between the diseases.

With the start of a hot dry summer in some parts, EHD talks begin to creep into conversations. In 2011 and 2012, parts of the Midwest were devastated by a disease that effected deer herds called epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD).

Drought based, this disease is also known as Blue Tongue, HD, or many other names throughout the whitetail world. It is spread deer to deer by bites from microscopic flies.

Dr. Woods explains how this disease took over a third of the deer population on this property. We are sure that if you weren’t effected by the disease, that many of your buddies have horror stories of finding some of their hit list bucks dead near water sources.

Droughts cause EHD because the mud of water holes creates a breeding habitat for these flies. With limited water sources, flies and deer find themselves all using the same water holes. One fly bites a sick deer, and then moves on to bite another deer, leading to the spread of the disease quickly.

Luckily, most parts of the country have found plenty of rain lately and the possibility of an EHD should be diminished.

That brings us to chronic waste disease (CWD) which is totally different than EHD, but so commonly confused. CWD is 100 percent fatal once a deer has contracted it, making it very dangerous.

CWD is also a much slower process, but it is much harder to overcome and battle for the deer herd because of the 100 percent fatality rate. It’s caused by prions, or bent proteins, that finds their way into soil. Plants then take on the proteins, and whitetails digest the plants which cause the disease to overcome them.

The prions are then shed from the deer through saliva, feces, urine, and other bodily fluids. Once the prions find their way to soil, there is no way to remove it. That is why CWD is so dangerous for deer and deer hunters alike.

Be sure to check out the entire video to hear Dr. Woods go into more detail about the diseases and how to prevent them both.

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Explaining the Differences in Deer Diseases: EHD vs. CWD