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Parasites in Deer

Parasites in deer are common. They are infected with similar parasites both internally and externally to other species and the signs and treatments are similar too.

Clinical signs will include production loss, with severe weight loss, often scouring and thickening in the facial area (bottle jaw). With lung worm there can be coughing and often deer are found dead.

Elk and Wapiti are especially prone to internal parasites causing severe damage to the stomach lining resulting in a progressive condition called ‘Fading Elk Syndrome’. The body loses its ability to uptake protein causing the animal to survive by using up its own body protein, hence the severe loss of weight.

Diagnosis can be made through clinical signs and dung samples. However, a negative egg count on dung does not mean parasites are not present.

Regular drenching is important especially in young deer. In older deer, they do develop good immunity against internal parasites providing the parasite challenge is not large and that they are on good nutrition and stress free.

Pour-on endectocides are the easiest drench to give to deer and they are very successful. Some drenches are more successful for a particular type of worm, such as lung worm. For more information, please contact us.

Of the external parasites, Ticks are the most common and can cause the most severe disease with death in young fawns.  The adult tick will engorge on blood causing severe anaemia and death. In velvet stags, they will damage the growing velvet causing a production loss.

Treatment is largely dependant on a pour-on application of Bayticol at 8 week intervals starting in early August in Tick prone areas. Nelson is one of those areas as is the whole of the North Island.

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03 540 2329
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