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Thread: Axillary Lymph Node in Roe Deer

  1. #1

    Axillary Lymph Node in Roe Deer

    I have discovered recently a lymph node I didn't know existed in deer (in over 25 years of stalking) and it was pus filled. Added to that I could find nothing when I researched online hence my sharing it. The axillary LN is in the shoulder joint, the armpit in effect. I have to say thank you to two vets on here who responded to my email within hours.

    The scene was: I shot a mature roe doe and checked all of the normal lymph nodes plus lungs, liver, spleen etc and all were 100% OK as well as no chest adhesions. She was a good weight, was carrying plenty of fat and twin foeti.

    It was only when I came to bone out the shoulder that I discovered pus (off white, no odour) in what I thought was a joint but she was not lame hence the email to the vets. The vet explained there is a LN there as in humans (where this is in the armpit that can swell with infection/disease.) See photos below with point of knife indicating position of (incised) lymph node in first photo and the second pic on the right indicating the consistency and amount of pus.

    The conclusion was that with only the axillary node affected the infection was sterile and probably caused by trauma rather than disease. I explained we suffer badly from fence injuries on the estate in question and that could well have been a likely cause. She did have hair missing from her brisket but obviously in early March they are starting to change their coat so it could have just rubbed off. TB was ruled out as all of the lymph nodes in the respiratory tract were 100% clear and, again the axillary was alone in being affected. The deer was not culled in or near a TB wildlife observation zone.

    As I only butcher a relatively small amount of the deer I cull (selling the rest or getting the dealer/butcher to process them in to burgers/sausages/mince etc) this could be why I have never encountered this LN before. It's small and easy to miss, only the pus indicated it's presence.

    I'd be interested if anyone else has encountered enlarged or infected axillary LNs in deer.
    Thanks
    Nick

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  2. #2
    I have, and it turned out to be......TB!
    Only other infected nodes were the mesenterics.
    Cheers!
    Richard

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by NickJ View Post
    The conclusion was that with only the axillary node affected the infection was sterile and probably caused by trauma rather than disease.
    You can't draw that conclusion. That looks very un-sterile to me.....

    What we can say (with some confidence) is the infection appears localised. There is no particular need to condemn the carcase, but I'd chuck that front leg - especially now you cut it open.

    My only dealings with axillary lymph nodes have been in relation to foot infections - did you check the foot and claws carefully?

    Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 (England & Wales) makes it an offence to discharge a firearm within 50 ft of the centre of a highway with vehicular rights without lawful authority or excuse, if as a result a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

  4. #4
    Good post!

    There are plenty of lymph nodes spread about which don't get much written about them and sometimes pop up on here when people find them as they vary naturally in size and position even in perfectly healthy deer. Just under the skin in front of the hind legs, additional ones in the neck and also within the haunch are popular ones for people to find without expecting.

    Just out of interest were you able to make out any of the structure of the node itself or did it seem like just meat and then puss? Just looking at the photos comparing what I think is the lymph node and for the amount of puss I'm wondering if it could have been a discrete abscess rather than from within the lymph node itself?

    Topics like these are always useful because there are so many cases which don't quite fit what we are taught as 'black and white' in DSC1 etc...

    Alex

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Apache View Post
    You can't draw that conclusion. That looks very un-sterile to me.....
    In fairness, I drew that conclusion! I based it on a lack of other signs, if it was active infection I'd have expected more reaction around the area. I'd accept that a "cold" abscess would probably be thicker goo!

  6. #6
    To my mind it is a pseudotuberculosis. I have seen it many times in roe deer. Lymph nodes are full of pus. You can see more at
    Yersinia pseudotuberculosis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Be careful when dressing a roe whit lumps at they appear to be lymph nodes ! It is an infectous disease for humans.

    Pseudotuerculosis is quite common in sheep and goat and have seen many cases in Spanish roe deer.

  7. #7
    Thanks for the replies chaps, in turn:

    Richard - out of interest what made you look at the axillaries? Was it after seeing the suspect mesenterics?

    Apache - I hope you are well. Buchan advised same and I disposed of the front end of the carcase. Apologies as I might have misquoted Buchan, he very kindly phoned me only an hour after I emailed the photos but by that point I was at a noisy event and couldn't hear well! I only checked the hooves & claws quickly 'a la foot & mouth blister' search as it was later I found the infected LN.

    CSL - it was meat...then pus rather than a distinct node but Buchan said they are easy to miss if not pustular/enlarged. Twas a LN backed up by fact it was in both shoulders (sorry if I missed that out) hence thinking it was brisket injury rather than one side (see above foot injury/disease)

    Elcorzo - I'm not sure how prevalent pseudotuberculosis is in the UK but the vets on here might know. I am usually careful but.. incised the LN before I knew it then sniffed it thinking it was a joint injury, it was only when I found same on other side and thought of the human armpit correlation I suspected LNs.

    ATB
    Nick

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by NickJ View Post
    Thanks for the replies chaps, in turn:

    Richard - out of interest what made you look at the axillaries? Was it after seeing the suspect mesenterics?
    I wish i could say it was me, it wasn't, it was the AVHLA vet who discovered it.

    Cheers

    Richard

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by NickJ View Post
    Twas a LN backed up by fact it was in both shoulders (sorry if I missed that out) hence thinking it was brisket injury rather than one side (see above foot injury/disease)
    Hang on so there was puss like that in both sides? That's more worrying if that's the case. If you have two separate lymph nodes full of puss like that then you'd have to suspect a systemic infection like TB surely?....

    Perhaps one of our resident vets could confirm but it's my understanding that lymph nodes should never be full of puss while simply dealing with a localised injury or infection. You might find them enlarged, but not abscessed like that?
    Last edited by csl; 12-03-2015 at 21:09.

  10. #10
    The axillary nodes drain the skin and muscle of the foreleg and part of the sternum so a wound on the brisket area could lead to infection in both axillae. It would be very unusual for TB to be present in those area only, for to get there it will have bypassed all the bronchial or mediastinal nodes or all the alimentary nodes. You can get abscesses in lymph nodes if there is enough weight of bacteria.

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