Title:  An Evaluation of Intracranial Abscesses Among White-tailed Deer
Author(s): Christopher D. Baumann and William R. Davidson, University of Georgia
Year: 1998
Abstract: In the southeastern United States, an intracranial abscessation/suppurative meningoencephalitis (brain abscess) syndrome was described as a disease principally of adult male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). The geographic distribution, etiology, demographics, seasonality, and prevalence of this disease were evaluated by surveying disease diagnostic laboratories and by examining both natural mortality and hunter-harvested deer skulls. Intracranial abscesses were diagnosed as the cause of death or illness in 97 of nearly 4,500 (2.2%) white-tailed deer from 12 states and 4 Canadian'provinces. The bacterium Actinomvces Dyogenes was isolated from 61 % of cases; 20 other genera of bacteria also were isolated. The disease was strongly gender-biased (P<0.01) with 87% of cases occurring in males, and the overall prevalence among males was 4.9%. Cases were seasonal, primarily occumng from September through April. A total of 418 natural mortality buck skulls were examined from southeastern states, and 9% of the skulls from Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina had characteristic lesions. Skulls from hunterharvested bucks in the southeast had a lesion prevalence of 1.4%. The similar prevalence among natural mortality bucks (9%) and bucks examined at southeastern diagnostic laboratories (8.4%) suggests that this disease accounts for slightly less than 10% of the natural buck mortality in this region. The predilection among adult males suggests this disease should be considered when practicing quality deer management

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