Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study

Supporting wildlife through research and education

The Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) was founded in 1957 by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to determine the cause of widespread die-offs of white-tailed deer. An agreement with the CVM led to a headquarters and support facilities in Athens, where we became the first diagnostic and research service to be established for the specific purpose of investigating wildlife diseases.

Our objectives are to:

  • detect causes of sickness and death in wildlife
  • define the impact of diseases and parasites upon wild animal populations
  • delineate disease interrelationships between wildlife and domestic livestock
  • determine the role of wildlife in transmission of human diseases

SCWDS at a glance


Faculty Members


Years of Service


Member Agencies


Research Articles

Today, SCWDS remains a research and service organization within the College’s Department of Population Health. We provide wildlife disease expertise to state and federal agencies and serve as a common ground where wildlife experts work hand-in-hand with private, state, and federal authorities to ensure the welfare of our nation’s wildlife resources, domestic livestock interests, and human health. We offer externship opportunities for third and fourth year veterinary students and an extensive library of resources to students and wildlife professionals across the country.

Research and academic instruction

Research projects form an integral part of SCWDS activities and are implemented as wildlife, livestock or human health disease concerns warrant. Some of our research efforts include:

  • Ecology of avian influenza virus in waterfowl and shorebirds
  • Methods to assess and reduce health risks of translocating wild animals
  • Ecology of tick-borne zoonoses such as human ehrlichioses
  • West Nile Virus infections in wild birds
  • Avian Vacuolar Myelinopathy of eagles
  • Hemorrhagic disease in white-tailed deer
  • Methodologies for oral rabies vaccinations
  • Biological and molecular characterization of Trypansosoma cruzi from the United States
  • Diversity of piroplasms in wildlife
  • Natural history of vesicular stomatitis virus
  • Baseline disease surveys of wild mammals and birds across the Southeast

SCWDS faculty members teach courses for UGA undergraduate, graduate, and veterinary students in a variety of topics including wildlife diseases, epidemiology, parasitology, international issues in conservation, and conservation medicine/biology. In addition, we offer training for wildlife biologists and veterinary medical officers through workshops and special programs.

Latest SCWDS news and stories

Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study honored at AFWA meeting

The Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study received AFWA’s prestigious Earnest Thompson Seton Award for leadership in scientific management. The award, given to the state, provincial, or federal agency which has best promoted public awareness of the need to support the science and practice…

Related to SCWDS

Changing the face of animal health through research

Our researchers are actively searching to solve the common problems and challenges for wildlife.

Graduate degree programs

SCWDS is one of the many areas of emphasis that you can choose from as part of the College's Comparative Biomedical Sciences graduate program.