Fibromatosis in Wild Deer


| 6/18/2015 9:49:00 AM


Tags: deer, skin disease, wildlife, herbicides, Bruce McElmurray, Colorado,

 

A few days ago we had a deer just outside our back door that looked horrible (see photo, above). I obtained a few photos of him and readers will see what the problem is from viewing the photo. Since it is a wild animal, it is hard to get any closer or have them hold still while you examine them. Thanks to some very good friends who viewed the photo and did some research, we have learned that this is fibromatosis.

I have found two web sites that go into more detail regarding this disease: Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The data states that fibromatosis is not life-threatening to deer and occurs infrequently. Up close, it looks pretty gross and the deer in the photo had large sacs hanging off it plus a raw wound on near its haunch that was approximately 6-8 inches in diameter and appeared to be raw and bleeding.

A Connection Between Fibromatosis and Herbicides?

None of the reports I have read on fibromatosis actually had very much detailed information on the disease and stated its origin was unknown or possibly caused by insect bites or a virus. The last time I observed it on deer and elk was approximately 6 years ago when our community was spraying 2-4-D Amine 4 to kill Canada thistle. At that time, I would see community volunteers spraying meadow areas and sometimes within 2-3 hours following the spraying the deer would be browsing in the same area eating the sprayed weeds.

I had speculated at that time that their skin condition may have had something to do with consuming 2-4-D Amine 4, but had no proof the spraying was in any way connected with fibromatosis lesions and growths on the animals. I just assumed this because I had not seen animals in this condition before they started spraying weeds on our community’s 4,000 acres of common land. Furthermore I could not locate any reports that indicated any connection between spraying herbicides and the condition I observed on their bodies. This appears on the deer like warts on humans but appears far more severe with sacs hanging off the animal and open raw sores.




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