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Wildlife/Deer Sickness


We have lots of wild deer on our land and some of them are just naturally friendly.  One fawn was born in the Spring of 2013 and looked healthy as an ox.  Later "Socks" seemed to be wasting away.  So I wondered if she had chronic wasting disease.  Puss came from her eyes and then she formed a big brown scab thing under one of her eyes.  Now, when I see her, she has gained some weight, still has the brown thing under her eye, but has trouble moving and getting up and down.  She rests often.  Her leg bones look swollen.  Catching or touching her is out of the question although I always get within a few feet of her.  This sickness has been going on for months and months.  Is there anything I can do?

Hi Marlene,

I would advise you to contact your local Virginia Game and Fish Department:

They will need to send out a wildlife manager to assess the situation and decide the best course of action. It sounds as though the deer may have had an abscess that drained (may be a tooth abscess, penetrating mouth injury, etc.) and may be suffering from a bacterial joint infection/inflammation (septic arthritis) based upon your description of her swollen leg bones and difficulty moving. This will require further care, diagnostics, and appropriate antibiotic treatment. Of course it is best to alert them to a sick deer just in case it is an infectious disease.

Your G&F department can sedate the deer if necessary to get a better look at her. Be advised, though, that they may decide there is nothing they can do and may humanely euthanize the deer.

One other thing you can do is try contacting a wildlife rehabilitator in your area and see if they can help or offer any other advice, link is below:

Large animal or wildlife veterinarians in your area may also be a helpful resource.

Have you noticed any other sick deer in the herd?

I hope this helps- keep me updated and I hope you can get the help needed for this little deer.



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