Fawn Rescue

Deer Diseases and Conditions
by Marjorie Davis

Lesion on the Back of the Neck,
Given Antibiotics and Recovered (1993)

Dead fawn. Necropsy performed on 8/14/99

Treated with Antibiotics and Recovered 8/16/99


In this section we briefly describe only a few of the most serious diseases found in deer. We cannot prescribe treatments.

Fawn Rescue offers a published Fawn Care Manual to use as a guide in the care of fawns. This guide covers many conditions that may be seen in ill fawns. For more detail and treatment of the following diseases, plus additional diseases, please consult our manual. "The Black-Tailed Fawn - Care in Captivity." $15.00.

Notify your local Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding any Contagious Disease.

SALMONELLA: A bacterial disease of the intestinal tract. Isolate this fawn. Highly contagious to both wildlife and humans. Use sanitary precautions before and after having contact with the fawn and pen.

The most common clinical symptom is diarrhea which appears several days after disease has taken hold. Coughing may be noted. High temperature. Stools may be tinged with blood. Diarrhea begins as a loose, white opaque stool which develops into a watery, greenish-white non-stop fluid, especially severe at feeding time. The odor is overpowering. The body is puffy, but not bloated. The hair fluffs out, the fawn draws its body inward and hunches over in pain. It walks gingerly, head and tail down.

Consult with a vet for a stool culture and sensitivity test to determine to type of bacteria affecting the fawn, which will indicate the treatment needed. Never use blocking agents. Allow the diarrhea to flow through the body. Administer plenty of fluids.

Treat the pen with Nolvasan or other agent used as a disinfectant in vet clinics. TIme, air, rain and sunshine is the best method of purifying the pen after treatment of a powerful virucide, bactericide, fungicide and deodorant disinfectant.

CONTAGIOUS ECTHYMA: A Parapoxvirus. Also called Sore Mouth. Highly contagious to both wildlife and humans. Use sanitary precautions before and after having contact with the fawn and pen. Isolate this fawn.

Small reddened, swollen pustules appear around the nose, mouth, face and eye areas. If severe infection may spread to legs and feet, crippling the fawn. Scabs form and peel off, leaving a raw, open infected lesion. Difficulty nursing. Must keep the fawn well nourished, on its feet, and active. A weak fawn will die. A strong fawn will survive and become immune to further attacks. Consult with a vet for treatment. Although this disease is viral, treatment will keep a secondary bacterial infection under control, promote healing and limit pain. Sores may be treated with Betadine. Apply Biozide Gel, or similar product, to heal and sooth the lesions. Flys-Off applied to lesions is a MUST to prevent maggots, which will kill.
Treat the pen with Nolvasan or other agent used by vets as a disinfectant. TIme, air, rain and sunshine will purify the soil.

ADENOVIRUS: Species specific. A deadly hemorrhagic viral disease. Fawns die without warning. Apparently healthy fawns may die within a few hours. Isolate the fawn.

The fawn may eat well at one feeding, then at the following feeding it will approach the feeder eagerly, suck a few times, then turn away to seek water, due to extremely high fever and dehydration. It is lethargic. At this time blood will sometimes begin to seep from its rectum as hemorrhaging begins. Within a short time, pure blood may gush in a steady stream. The temperature drops quickly to below normal as they shut down and die. Temperature will register from 105.5 degrees to 93 degrees during the short time it takes to die. They cry out in severe pain. At times they are found dead by water.

There is no treatment available and it's too late to get it to a vet. If possible this fawn should be tranquilized, or euthanized, to prevent more suffering.

DEERPOX VIRUS: Species specific. A newly discovered deer disease. (2006). Once described as Raw Neck Disease. Symptoms generally begin with a deep, raw lesion on the back of the neck. The skin and hair may be still moist, necrotic and easy to peel off. The alert and mobile fawn continues to eat well. As the neck becomes clean of skin, the flesh underneath is a livid raw, flaming wound. The fawn is in pain. Gradually the rawness encircles the entire neck, and spreads to the ears and head region. It never spreads below the neck and onto the body. The bare flesh is occasionally covered with infection which gives off a strong unpleasant odor and the fawn may die.

This disease is not often fatal. It can usually be cured if treated quickly. Consult a vet. After treatment, healthy skin returns and hair grows back. The fawn becomes immune. As long as the fawn is mobile and continues to eat, do not give up, even though it looks incurable.

footer Email Wildlife Fawn Rescue This link will take you to the Home Page.

Email Wildlife Fawn Rescue Wildlife Fawn Rescue Home Page