I need to open with thanks to three vets who are on this site: Buchan, srvet and especially Professor James Simpson. Jimmy is interested in any interesting disease/malformation cases in deer in the UK through his project so if you encounter anything of note please sent to him via : http://www.scottishdeerproject.co.uk
Thanks also to this site, I find the 'diseases and biology' section fascinating and I think has helped countless deer managers over the years.
A couple of weeks back I was stalking on a nearby estate in North East Lancashire and I shot a roe buck in a terrible state. It was completely bald on about 30% of it's body (see photos below) and quite thin. The lymph nodes in the gralloch were clear but I did not skin it (to check other LNs) as I had the dog with me and although I sat her at the top of the bank I was keen to get her away from it and was not going to process the carcase. (Buchan felt the LNs in the shoulder and thigh might well be suspect.)
The only other abnormality seemed to be that his pedicles were uneven (see final pic.) It was a shame as he wasn't old and had a thin, but promising set of antlers.
I covered the carcase with brash and sent the pics to the three vets. Jimmy advised I got a small pot of formaol saline (free) from a local vet and cut a 10p piece size piece off one of the worst affected areas, put it in the fridge overnight (4 degrees C) and sent it to him First Class the following day.
Jimmy very kindly came back within a week and said: 'your buck has demodecosis which is a skin mite infection. The mite lives on the hair follicles and causes them to die. This is normally seen in dogs and although I have not done a literature search we may have another quite rare deer disease. The animal is often immuno suppressed to allow the mite to establish so aggressively.'
Apparently Demodicosis, also called demodectic mange or red mange, is caused by a sensitivity to and overpopulation of Demodex canis as the animal's immune system is unable to keep the mites under control. A 'demodex' word search on this site showed up two other cases reported, one in North Yorkshire and one in Somerset. http://www.thestalkingdirectory.co.u...hlight=demodex
The final point of interest was that; although over the years I have shot over 150 roe off this one estate the only animals out of the ordinary have, in effect been in the same smallish wood I shot this affected buck in (wood is circa 50ha but long and thin.) Two years ago I shot a malform (antlered) buck that looked like damage in velvet. Last year the neighbour on the other side of the river shot an anterlered doe (hermaphrodite) and a friend has recently seen a buck that looks perruque (which I am pursuing before the flies come out in vengeance.)
I wonder if they can some how be related? Could the malform have had the mite in his velvet? (although his skin was fine and this bucks antlers were fine) Could a genetic hormonal imbalance make this buck more susceptible to the mite? Or all just a coincidence, it just seems odd with 4 out of 150+ all in the same area.
Thanks for reading and I hope you don't encounter the same, the poor beast was wretched.