Submitted to: Journal of Comparative Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/14/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Commercial production of deer for agricultural purposes has increased dramatically in the United States in the last 20 years. As this industry grows it will be important to address animal health concerns that may be unique to this industry. We monitored the development of abomasal (gastric) ulcers in captive white-tailed deer. We found ulcers in 35 of 200 deer examined. The distribution of ulcers in the stomach was similar to that seen in calves raised in confinement for veal production. Deer with abomasal ulcers were also experiencing other health problems including diarrhea or pneumonia. Stress, such as that imposed by existing disease may play an important role in the development of ulcers in the abomasum of captive white-tailed deer. This information will be of value to veterinarians and deer producers as they try to optimize health in captive deer herds.
Technical Abstract: Abomasitis or abomasal ulceration was noted in 35 of 200 white-tailed deer examined. Ulceration was most common in the abomasal pylorus and at the abomasal-duodenal junction. Abomasal ulceration was characterized by focal to multifocal sharply demarcated areas of mucosal coagulation necrosis, hemorrhage, and fibrin thrombi within small diameter mucosal vessels. Ulcerated areas were often covered by a mixture of mucus, debris, and neutrophils. Visible bacteria were not associated with ulcerative lesions. All deer with abomasal ulceration had intercurrent disease including bacterial pleuropneumonia, chronic diarrhea, capture myopathy, or experimentally induced tuberculosis. The distribution of abomasal ulcers in this population of captive white-tailed deer resembles that seen in veal calves. Similar to cattle, stress, such as that induced by disease, may contribute to abomasal ulcers in white-tailed deer.