White-tailed Deer

Health Issues Which May Affect This Animal

What Causes This Disease?

The bacteria that are commonly associated with abscesses are common in the environment. A variety of bacteria are associated with abscesses in deer and elk including Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis Trueperella pyogenes, Pseudomonas spp., Streptococcus spp. and Staphylococcus spp.. Most abscesses are found in lymph nodes and internal organs and contain thick, greenish yellow or white purulent material.

Where Is The Disease Found?

Abscesses occur commonly in many species of wildlife across North America. Abscesses of many origins in many wildlife species have been documented in Idaho.

Signs of Disease

Abscesses are typically characterized by variable sized pockets of pus which can be located anywhere on the body, usually under the skin or in skeletal muscles. In mammals, abscesses do not typically cause illness because the abscess is usually localized. Abscesses that spread along the muscle layers, or into various organs may cause pathological conditions that can be detrimental to the animal's health. In birds, abscesses usually form enlarged spherical areas that may hinder movement or feeding ability. In raptors, the feet are often involved (bumblefoot) and the enlarged areas can result in an inability to stand and to capture prey.

Read More About Abscesses

What Causes This Disease?

Carotid Artery Worm is caused by a parasitic nematode (Elaeophora schneideri) found in white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose.

Where Is The 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..

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.

Read More About Carotid Artery Worm

What Causes This Disease?

CWD is a neurologic disorder that causes the brain to degenerate and develop cavities becoming sponge like in appearance. It is caused by abnormally folded proteins called prions. CWD is contagious between animals by either direct or indirect contact with infected animals or their habitat. CWD is not believed to be contagious to people.

Where Is The Disease Found?

CWD has been documented in numerous states and provinces, Korea and Norway in a variety of cervid species. It has been found in both captive and wild cervids. The current distribution of CWD in North America can be found in various links provided here. To date, there is no evidence that CWD is present in free-ranging deer or elk in Idaho.

Signs of Disease

Animals infected with CWD are typically thin and show neurologic signs. The most common sign of CWD is lack of feeding, increased drinking and excessive salvation and urination. Behavioral signs include loss of fear of humans and loss of awareness of their surroundings.The most common signs of CWD in live cervids are emaciation and neurological signs. There are no typical lesions seen in animals that die of CWD but consistent signs include poor body condition and aspiration pneumonia.

Read More About Chronic Wasting Disease

What Causes This Disease?

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) is caused by a virus in the genus Orbivirus. There are two distinct types of EHD in North America, and about 16 types of BT. The virus is spread between susceptible animals by biting midges (Culicoides spp.).

Where Is The Disease Found?

EHD is found throughout North America from the southeast to the northwest. EHD and bluetongue have been documented in most areas of Idaho with large outbreaks in white-tailed deer in the Clearwater Region.

Signs of Disease

Clinical signs in infected deer include sluggishness, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the head, neck and tongue. Ulcers or erosions of the tongue or gums may be present. Internal lesions include swelling and fluid accumulation in the lungs, ulcers in the abomasum an d hemorrhages on the heart and intestines. Animals with chronic EHD can have abnormal hoof growth, hoof sloughing and sometimes are emaciated..

Read More About Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease

What Causes This Disease?

Giant liver flukes (Fascioloides magna), also known as the American liver fluke or deer fluke, are flatworms are important parasites of deer, elk and moose in North America. The flukes are a normal parasite in white-tailed deer and occasionally elk.

Where Is The Disease Found?

Giant liver flukes are found in mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and moose in many parts of North America. Giant liver flukes have been documented sporadically in a few mule deer, elk and moose in Idaho.

Signs of Disease

Animals infected with giant liver flukes generally appear healthy unless large numbers of flukes are present. With large numbers of flukes, generally the liver function is compromised leading to animals in poor body condition. In definitive hosts, flukes are found in yellowish-white fibrous cysts that 1-2 inches across that contain pairs of flukes. A reddish brown liquid is found inside the cysts with the flukes. In animals that are not definitive hosts for giant liver flukes, the flukes can cause significant liver damage and ill thrift or death in severely affected individuals. The flukes continue to migrate in the liver creating numerous tracts and extensive liver damage that can lead to fibrosis and liver failure.

Read More About Giant Liver Flukes

What Causes This Disease?

Hydatids are the immature form of a tapeworm called Echinococcus granulosus. Echinococcus granulosus is a very small (3-5 m) tapeworm that requires two different animal species, a canid and an ungulate, to complete its lifecycle.

Where Is The Disease Found?

Hydatid disease is found around the world including North America where it exists in two forms – a domestic form involving domestic dogs and domestic sheep and a sylvatic form involving wolves or coyotes and ungulates. The most common form of E. granulosus is found in domestic dogs and sheep, and is found worldwide, including the western USA. The form in domestic dogs and domestic sheep is the most common source of the disease in humans. There are numerous strains of E .granulosus worldwide that occur in various host species systems e. g. wolves and wild ungulates in temperate North America, dingos and kangaroos in Australia, and jackels and domestic cattle in Africa. Hydatid cysts have been found in cattle and domestic sheep, deer, elk,. moose and mountain goats in Idaho. Adult tapeworms have been found in wolves and coyotes in Idaho.

Signs of Disease

The adult tapeworm occurs in the intestines of wolves, coyotes and foxes but they are generally asymptomatic. The larval form or hydatid cyst occurs in moose, elk and deer, and can occur in humans. In moose, deer, and elk, the cysts have thick walls and are filled with a clear watery liquid. The cysts are usually found in the lungs but can also occur in the liver or other organs. Cysts can vary in size from ¾ to 4 inches in diameter and contain hundreds of juvenile tapeworms. The presence of hydatids in herbivores usually does not cause clinical signs unless the cyst obstructs normal body function. If cysts rupture, illness can be severe.

Read More About Hydatid Disease

What Causes This Disease?

Meningeal worm is a nematode parasite, Parelaphostrongylus tenuis.

Where Is The Disease Found?

Meningeal worm is found throughout eastern North America but is usually restricted to east of the 100th meridian. Meningeal worm has not been documented in Idaho.

Signs of Disease

In the normal host, white-tailed deer, and occasionally elk, the parasite causes no clinical disease. In most elk and other ruminants (domestic sheep and goats, mule deer, moose, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats), the abnormal migration of the L3 causes paresis of the limbs that can lead to paralysis and death.

Read More About Meningeal worm

What Causes This Disease?

Warts in animals are caused by Papillomaviruses.

Where Is The Disease Found?

Warts are common on many species of animals throughout North America. Warts have been documented on the skin of moose, deer and elk throughout Idaho.

Signs of Disease

Warts can be found any part of the body, but are more common on the head, face and neck. In deer, the warts appear as dark lumps that vary in size from 0.5 to 6 inches in diameter. There may occur as single or multiple warts and their surface texture may be rough or smooth. Affected animals are usually in good body condition. In coyotes and wolves, the warts occur on the lips and mouth and affected animals are usually thin or emaciated.

Read More About Papillomas (Warts)

What Causes This Disease?

The most common pathogens in bighorn sheep are respiratory bacteria Pasteurella haemolytica or Pasteurella multocida, and Mycoplasma ovipneumonia but respiratory viruses like Infectious Bovine Rhinovirus, Parainfluenza virus, Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or parasites like lungworms can contribute to pneumonia in bighorns and other ruminants. There is evidence in captive and free-ranging bighorn sheep that transmission can occur after contact with domestic sheep or goats. Other ruminants can develop pneumonia from these and other bacteria including Arcanobacter spp., Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, and Trueprella pyogenes as well as a variety of respiratory viruses.

Where Is The Disease Found?

Generally, pneumonia is a problem in bighorn sheep and to a lesser extent in deer and elk. Pneumonia in bighorn sheep has been found throughout North America. In Idaho, pneumonia in bighorns has been found in all areas where bighorn sheep exist. Isolated cases of pneumonia have been documented in mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, moose, pronghorn and mountain goats in Idaho.

Signs of Disease

Clinical signs of pneumonia in ruminants include coughing, shortness of breath, and a weakened condition. Generally, animals with pneumonia will have discolored lungs possibly with adhesions to the rib cage or abscesses. In trials of captive bighorn sheep that are inoculated with Pasteurellaceae bacteria, survival is generally less than 2-3 days. Depending on the bacterial pathogen present, the nutritional and immune status of the individual, and other factors, affects range from chronic pneumonia in adult females, summer lamb mortality events and ill thrift to rapid whole herd mortality events . Often the mortality events are found by hunters or during herd surveys when carcasses or skeletons are found. Similar signs of disease occur in other ruminants affected by pneumonia but pneumonia in other species of ruminants tends to occur in single individuals rather than on a herd basis.

Read More About Pneumonia

What Causes This Disease?

Several species of tapeworm produce cystercerci in the intermediate host. The most common in cervids is Taenia hydatigena, but other species including T. pissiformis and T. krabbei.

Where Is The Disease Found?

Tapeworm cystercerci are found in appropriate ruminant hosts across most of North America. They are commonly reported in ungulates in Idaho.

Signs of Disease

Cystercerci are usually small bladders, approximately 0.5-2 cm in diameter, containing fluid and a single larval tapeworm. The location of the cystercerci depends on the tapeworm species and the host species. Taenia hydatigena and T. pissiformis typically form cystercerci in the mesenteries or the liver. Taenia krabbei typically forms cystercerci in the skeletal muscle. There also may be white, star-like scars on the surface of the liver from the migration of larval tapeworms. Carnivores like wolves, coyotes and foxes are the definitive host of the adult tapeworms and usually appear healthy even though they may be infected with large numbers of tapeworms.

Read More About Tapeworm cysts (Cystercerci)

What Causes This Disease?

Tapeworms are segmented worms that are usually found in the small intestine or other tubular structures of animals. There are numerous species of tapeworms that affect a variety of animals with highly variable life cycles and many sizes.

Where Is The Disease Found?

Tapeworms are found worldwide and have been reported from many species of wildlife in Idaho.

Signs of Disease

Typically animals that are infected with tapeworms show no outward signs. Tapeworms are occasionally found when animals are examined after being harvested by hunters.

Read More About Tapeworms in carnivores and ungulates

News

  • Please Don't Feed Me!

    This article was written by Fish and Game Regional Wildlife Manager Wayne Wakkinen, stationed at the regional office in Coeur d'Alene. It offers additional insights into the winter feeding issue.

    As the snow piles up, we get reports from the public that deer and elk have come down from the mountains and are looking hungry. Some think feeding deer and elk will help the animals survive the rough winter months. They don’t understand why Fish and Game is reluctant to start a feeding program. But there are good reasons to be cautious about feeding wildlife. 

  • Please DON’T feed me!

    As the snow piles up, we get reports from the public that deer and elk have come down from the mountains and are looking hungry.  Some think feeding deer and elk will help the animals survive the rough winter months.  They don’t understand why Fish and Game is reluctant to start a feeding program.  But there are good reasons to be cautious about feeding wildlife. 

  • Big Game Seasons and Rules 2015 - 2016
  • Mule deer, radio collar, telemetry, Southwest Region

    I found a radio collar, what should I do?

    Idaho Fish and Game places hundreds of collars on animals annually to track their survival, seasonal movements, and get more information about them. That means there are literally thousands of collared animals running around Idaho. 

  • Hunter Report Icon

    Hunters reminded to report on deer, elk, pronghorn tags

    With most of the major big game hunting seasons over for the year, Idaho Fish and Game reminds hunters who purchased a 2016 deer, elk, or pronghorn tag to report the results of their big game hunts as soon as possible.

  • Big game season setting meeting planned in Sandpoint

    The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is starting to collect public input to develop big game hunting season proposals for 2017 and 2018. Big game seasons are now set for a two year period, so the hunting seasons being developed will be for the next two years.

    The first public meeting is scheduled in Sandpoint on Thursday, December 8. The meeting will be held at the Sandpoint Event Center, located at 102 S. Euclid Avenue. The meeting will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

  • Big Game Season Public Input Meeting

    The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is starting to collect public input to develop big game hunting season proposals for 2017 and 2018.  Big game seasons are now set for a two year period, so the hunting seasons being developed will be for the next two years.

     The first public meeting is scheduled in Sandpoint on Thursday, December 8.  The meeting will be held at the Ponderay Event Center, located at 401 Bonner Mall Way. The meeting will run from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

  • Mule deer, McCall subregion, deer hunting

    Deer season is off to a promising start

    Early season deer harvest is tracking similar to last year, which was well above the 10-year average. 

  • Deer Field Dressing Workshop

    The Southwest Regional Office in Nampa is hosting a free deer field dressing workshop on Saturday October 8th at 5:00 PM.  We will watch a field dressing training video, and then a biologist will demonstrate how to gut, skin, and de-bone an a deer carcass.

  • Hunter in Sunset, cc-by Roger Phillips

    Share your favorite hunting shots

    Fall is here, and we're already seeing some great Idaho hunting shots on social media. Why not put them here, too?

    We love seeing folks out hunting in the fall and sharing their experiences through photos, and we encourage people to share their best shots on our photo gallery.

    It's quick and easy to download them, and don't worry, we won't ask for your favorite hunting spot, but photos may be used for Fish and Game illustrations and promotions. 

White-tailed Deer

Odocoileus virginianus

IDAPA Classification: Big Game
View Species Profile