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Thread: Demodex in Roe

  1. #1

    Demodex in Roe

    I posted before about mange in Roe deer, I have now shot 5 deer with extensive hair loss all in the same area and a big thanks to Alex Barlow at VLA Langford for his help with finding out the cause-Demodex. Here are a few photos, some of a doe I shot on the 28th Feb and some of a young buck I shot today along with a doe from earlier in the winter and a buck from the summer:


    Another doe from Jan (I suspect she was the mother to the buck I shot this morning):


    Earlier buck from the summer:

    There are several Roe in the area and a few Munties but I wouldn't say there are so many that it's over-populated, I have taken been fairly hard on the Roe and last year's cull was 42 from this area.

    The mite is apparently present in deer naturally but for some reason these seem to be suffering hair loss as a result of large numbers of Demodex. The worm counts were relatively high on the deer examined by Alex although the body weights are good on the affected animals unless they have really bad hair loss which would obviously cause a drop in body weight as they waste energy trying to keep warm. The buck I shot first which is not shown here went silver when measured so the food supply through the winter is obviously good.

    I'm adopting a shoot on sight policy if I see affected animals although I did leave a doe last summer that showed a small patch of hair loss as she had a healthy kid at heel and did not seem too badly affected, I think that is the really bad doe from Jan shown above and the kid was most likely the buck I shot today.

    I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who's seen this although the only other recorded case was in Tadcaster last year.

  2. #2
    Very interesting report - thanks for posting.

    Without being too specific, would it help if you posted a rough location in the hope that anyone managing/controlling deer in the area might keep their eyes open for any further incidences? Could it be possible that an unrelated species could be the vector for the outbreak - fox maybe?

  3. #3
    Cheers Ben, very interesting information! What I find curious is that there doesn't appear (from the photos at least) to be any visible form of inflammation or irritation on the skin that you'd normally associate with a bad case of 'mange'?

    Were Langfords able to give any theories about how/why it is happening? Genetic low immunity to Demodex or something?

    The Tadcaster case is another thread in "Similar Threads" at the bottom of this page:

    Demodex in Deer causing hair loss


  4. #4
    Demodex is more usually seen in dogs and is almost always stress or concurrent disease related. IT can be jsut hair loss rather than the scaling seen with scabies mites. It can be triggered by doses of steroids (because they suppress the immune system). I'd guess it's related to the relatively high worm burden.

  5. #5
    There is no inflammation at all, it looks like they've been shaved almost, just bare skin where the hair should be. I think Langford are putting it down to the strongyl worm they are carrying for the moment.

    If you gralloch one they appear completely normal although obviously none of these have gone into the food chain, they say you can eat myxy rabbits but I never fancied that either! We are really bad for ticks and there are quite a few keds but there always have been so I don't think they are anything to do with it. Apparently it is naturally present in lots of species but doesn't cause a problem, it is usually passed to the young by the mother as I understand it.

  6. #6
    It has been found in USA, Canada

    and Belgium

    ScienceDirect - The Veterinary Journal : Severe alopecia due to demodicosis in roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in Belgium

    The Demodex mite lives in hair follicles whereas the Sarcoptes mite [=fox mange] burrows into the skin causing extensive crusting and inflammation.

    I was involved in the sampling of the Tadcaster case, no egg counts were done - only skin biopsys submitted. The VLA staff could see no reason why the affected deer couldn't enter the food chain.

  7. #7
    how did you make your diagnosis?
    is the area you are shootig in over populated?

  8. #8
    Saw a doe exhibiting these symptons on my ground this evening, but couldn't take a safe shot. She was with a buck and another doe which both looked to be in good condition.

  9. #9
    Account Suspended
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    Jan 2010
    North Yorkshire
    I shot two bucks last season in Dumfries that suffered from it or similar .I havent seen any evidence since of infected deer, body weight was ok and like the piccies on the above post it did not appear sore just silver areas where the hair was missing

  10. #10
    I'd be interested if anyone could confirm how contagious this condition is between deer, or is it simply that there have to be other factors (stress etc) to enable the immune system to be overcome? Is it possible for an animal to recover in due course?

Similar Threads

  1. Demodex in Deer causing hair loss
    By Dorsetvetstudent in forum Diseases, Welfare and Biology
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-09-2010, 09:13

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