A deer that was “acting strangely” was euthanized Wednesday in Durango, and is being sent as a precautionary measure to test for chronic wasting disease, wildlife officials said.
La Plata County Animal Control Officer Reid Brubaker said the deer was drooling and spinning in circles near West Third Avenue and 17th Street for nearly 24 hours before a resident reported the animal to the Durango Police Department as a traffic hazard.
Brubaker said he found the animal covered in ticks and it was approaching people, so the decision was made to euthanize it.
“It was sick,” Brubaker said. “I believe it has chronic wasting disease, Lyme disease or West Nile.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Joe Lewandowski said whenever an animal displays unusual behavior, the division sends it off to see if it’s chronic wasting disease.
Chronic wasting disease is an infectious disease that affects the brain and nervous system of members of the deer family, usually causing the animal to lose coordination and starve.
In July, wildlife officials confirmed they found a deer that carried the disease in Montrose – the first reported case in Southwest Colorado, though it has been present in the state for more than three decades.
Lewandowski said the deer’s head will be sent to a lab in Fort Collins for testing. He said results should be available within a month.