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CWD Sample Submission for IHC Testing



Ohio has robust Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance programs in both captive and free-ranging deer. In 2020, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife identified Ohio's first positive test for CWD in a wild Ohio white-tailed deer in Wyandot County. A second positive test was identified in January 2021 during a controlled hunt on the Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area refuge, within 2 miles of the first positive location.

How to collect samples for CWD testing

Watch our YouTube video for proper collection techniques for CWD sampling

Guidance for Hunters Submitting Samples for CWD Testing

ODA works with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to educate Ohio hunters on CWD in Ohio's wild white-tailed deer. 

Sample Collection

Whole deer heads can be shipped to the ADDL for CWD testing or can be brought by the hunter to the ADDL. Call 614-728-6220 or e-mail submissions@agri.ohio.gov if you plan on dropping specimens off yourself.

Cost of testing: $83

The cost includes:

- one immunohistochemistry (IHC) test ($35)

- a sample collection fee ($40)

- an accession fee ($8)

This does not including shipping charges. We accept check, credit card or cash (exact change only).

The deer head must be shipped/submitted within 24 hours from when the deer was harvested. Samples/specimens need to be shipped in a leakproof insulated cooler on ice packs, not frozen, for testing of fresh tissue.

A Submission Form must accompany your shipment.

If you want to collect samples yourself, work with ODNR (wildinfo@dnr.ohio.gov) for guidance. Required samples for testing include retropharyngeal lymph nodes. Deer heads should be inside a closed plastic bag or leakproof box upon drop-off at the ADDL.

Sample Submission

Specimens should be sent to the following address:

Ohio Department of Agriculture
Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
8995 East Main Street, Building 6
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068-3399

Please ship overnight via UPS or FedEx, Monday through Friday. The ADDL observes all state holidays and specimens should not be shipped the day before a state holiday to avoid delays in delivery.

If you are delivering the specimen yourself, we receive walk-ins 8:00AM - 5:00PM, Monday through Friday.

Guidance for Herd Certification Program and Preserves

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) made changes in 2018 to the required procedures for sample collection for CWD testing (refer to the USDA’s sample collection guidance card). Please see the information below for detailed submission requirements for veterinarians. Note that both fresh and formalin-fixed samples are now required.

Formalin-fixed tissue

(10:1 ratio of formalin to tissue sample)


After removing the brainstem from the foramen magnum, ensure the proper obex sample (bifurcation or “V”) is preserved. Further trim the brainstem section by making a transverse cut ¾ inch in front of the “V” shape bifurcation and an equal distance behind the bifurcation. Place the trimmed obex into the formalin jar.

Medial Retropharyngeal Lymph Nodes (MRPLNs)

Remove each left and right MRPLN as done previously, now, longitudinally incise each lymph node. Place half of the left and half of the right node into the formalin jar, and the other halves into a whirl-pak bag (see below).

Fresh tissue

(collect samples in one labeled whirl-pak bag)


Place the rostral and distal pieces of brainstem in the labeled bag.

Retropharyngeal Lymph Nodes

Place the other halves of each node into the same bag.

ID Tags And Skin

Effective January 1, 2021, the official ID must be submitted with the fresh ear tissue to which it was attached at the time of the animal’s death, per the Ohio Administrative Code. If no official ID is present, the collector must affix one and record the information. Microchips must be submitted with the tissue and hide in which they are embedded. Please place it in the labeled bag and submit with other fresh tissues. DO NOT PLACE IN FORMALIN.