Ask The Biologist

What’s Up, Doc?

What’s Up, Doc?

By Bob Humphrey

Deer maladies are tough to diagnose without a hands-on examination.

QUESTION: Can you tell me what’s wrong with this deer? — Alex W.

ANSWER: That’s a good one. Without actually seeing the deer, the best I can do is offer a few possibilities. The most common reason for lumps or protrusions on deer are fibromas, essentially benign skin tumors.

However, they typically occur on the skin’s surface, and are often discolored. Like any mammal, deer also occasionally contract sub-dermal tumors. This could be either one.

However, a couple things lead me to think otherwise. One is that the lump appears to be symmetrical — centered under the buck’s jaw, which fibromas and other tumors typically are not. The other is the right antler is non-typical, suggesting an injury or other malady.

Occasionally deer suffer injury or birth defects that allow food to become impacted over time. More often it is a defect in the palate, which allows impaction in the nasal cavity but between the lower jaws. Then again, it could be something else like a cyst, swelling from an injury, or a tumor.

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Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd