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Carotid Artery Worm
Carotid Artery Worm is caused by a parasitic nematode (Elaeophora schneideri) found in white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose.
Commonly Affected Species:
Signs Of Disease
Carotid artery worms are native parasites of mule deer, but have been found in white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. Most animals show no signs of sickness. However, some animals can exhibit signs including malformed antlers, blindness, muzzle or ear necrosis (destruction), and oral impactions which are caused by the worms restricting blood flow through arteries.
Where is Disease Found?
Carotid artery worms are widely distributed in the western United States, several southeastern states, and areas of Canada. The parasite has been documented in many parts of Idaho in mule deer, moose and elk..
How Can I Protect Myself?
Humans are not known to be affected by carotid artery worms.
Samples to Collect
If the animal is suspected of having carotid artery worms, it will be necessary to deliver the head and neck to a regional Idaho Department of Fish and Game office or the Wildlife Health Laboratory for examination. If dissection is necessary, skinning back the base of the skull to expose the carotid arteries is required and then carefully cut open the artery and look for the worms within the artery. The worms can be collected and placed in a small bottle with 10% formalin or 70% alcohol. Deliver the preserved worm to a conservation officer or an Idaho Department of Fish and Game Regional Office.
Can I Eat The Meat?
Meat from animals infected with carotid artery worm can be consumed by humans.
What is IDFG doing to help manage this disease?:
IDFG is conducting surveillance for carotid artery worms in moose in Idaho and contributing samples for the development of a diagnostic test in live animals.
How do I learn more about this disease?