Ask The Biologist

Abscesses and Meat

Abscesses and Meat

By Bob Humphrey

The venison is probably safe, but why take a chance?

QUESTION: My son shot a doe that had an abscess in front of her shoulder. The deer seemed otherwise healthy. The abscess was not lanced until cut away from the carcass, and was not in contact with any edible portion. When I did lance it, a thick, syrupy, yellow liquid poured out. Understanding that this was infectious material, I wonder if it has any bearing on the remainder of the animal. Should I be concerned regarding the portions we intended to consume? –JL

ANSWER: Yuck! It sounds like you have correctly identified the situation here. According to Michigan DNR, “Abscesses are circumscribed collections of purulent material (pus) found in several species of animals in a variety of locations.

Abscesses and MeatThis purulent inflammation is usually caused by one of four pyogenic (pus producing) bacteria: Trueperella, Pseudomonas, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus.”

They can be caused by chemical or physical damage, like gunshot wounds, fighting wounds or possibly car-deer collisions. As to whether your doe is edible, that’s your call. The WDNR says: “Concerning the edibility of the affected animal, generally, if the abscessed area is removed, it is safe to consume the remaining meat. If, however, the abscessed area is widespread, has an offensive odor, or is aesthetically displeasing, it may be better to refrain from consuming the affected meat.”

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Copyright 2021 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd