FELT, Okla. (KFOR) – Officials say they are taking notice after a white-tailed deer carcass found just south of the Oklahoma border has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

The deer was found about 2.5 miles south of the Oklahoma border in the western Panhandle, south of Felt.

Although it wasn’t found in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has activated the next stage of the CWD Response Plan due to its proximity to the state.

“With the ability of deer to easily travel many miles in a day, the CWD Response Plan dictates that we respond to this finding as if CWD has now been detected among free-roaming wild deer in Oklahoma,” said Jerry Shaw, Wildlife Programs Supervisor with ODWC. 

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological disease that attacks the brains of deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family. The disease creates holes in the brain, which is always fatal to the animal. It is a slow-progressing disease with a long lag between infection and visible symptoms.

Infected animals began to lose weight, lose appetite and develop an insatiable thirst. They tend to separate from the herd, walk in repetitive patterns, stumble or tremble, carry their head low, salivate, urinate frequently and grind their teeth.

At this point, no treatment or vaccine exists.

The disease is spread when animals are in close contact, or when they contact soil that contains protein particles from urine, feces, saliva or an infected animal’s carcass.

No CWD-positive wild deer have been found in Oklahoma. However, CWD has been found in two captive elk herds in the state.

For more information, visit the Wildlife Department’s website.