Chronic Wasting Disease and Raw Dog Food

Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is not a concern for you or your pet in serving RAW WILD raw meat dog food.  Not only is it highly unlikely the meat contains CWD, but it is not transmissible to you, your dog, cattle, or any species outside of the cervid family (deer, elk, reindeer, sika deer, and moose).

What is Chronic Wasting Disease?

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a rare, transmissible disease that affects the nervous system.  It is caused by small proteinaceous infectious particles called prions that affect cervids.  Other examples of prion-caused diseases are known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) and include Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or "Mad Cow Disease" in cattle), Scrapie (in sheep and goats) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD, in humans).  In an animal with CWD, the prions accumulate in the brain, spinal cord, eyes, tonsils, spleen and lymph nodes.  CWD is found in North America, Europe, and Asia.  

How is it Transmitted?

Transmission of CWD may occur through direct contact between a healthy and an infected animal or indirectly through environmental contamination.  Prions are extremely resistant in the environment and can stay infectious for years, while simply lying on the ground.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the risk of transmission from animals to humans is considered extremely low, and there are no reported cases of it ever happening.  It is transmissible by urine, feces, and saliva.  Unfortunately, cervids (deer, elk, etc.) communicate by touching their noses together in an exchange of saliva and by their urine, which can result in the transfer of the prion from one animal to another.  It is not highly transmissible, however, and it is estimated that only a very small percentage (significantly less than 0.1%), of the cervid population, carries the prion.

Can I get it?

The CDC reports no known cases of CWD in people. The CDC also reports no transmission from cervids to any other animal groups, like pets or domestic livestock.

How likely is RAW WILD to contain CWD Prions?

It is virtually impossible (though without testing every single package we cannot say it is 100% impossible).  First, RAW WILD contains nothing but meat!  No brains, no eyes, no hides, no lymph nodes, no spines, no guts, no spleens, no offal, no tongues, etc. – just meat (plus some vitamins and minerals to make it complete and balanced). 

Second, the meat RAW WILD uses is the best.  It is not collected from dead, dying, disabled, or diseased animals (4D meat is used in many dog foods – but not RAW WILD). 

Third, our meat comes from the game that hunters ethically harvested for their own families.  Those hunters are careful and selective in what and how they shoot because it is for their own consumption and that of their family.  They are careful to look for the healthiest game, and would never harvest an animal showing the signs of CWD to feed to their own kids.  CWD manifests itself with drastic weight loss (wasting), stumbling, listlessness, droopy ears, excessive salivation, and other neurologic symptoms, and eventually death.  Clear signs that a hunter would want to avoid.

Fourth, how rare is it?  In 744,000 deer hunters out in the field over 13 years in Utah, only 62 animals tested as possibly positive for CWD, and all those animals were still deemed safe to eat.  That’s 0.0083% or less than 1 in 12,000 that the animal even has it, and even then it doesn’t accumulate in the meat, which is the only thing we use!  We trust it enough to feed it to our own dogs.