Could this be a cancerous tumour.

UK Outfitters


I took an apparently healthy Roe Buck this morning with a Heart/Lung shot. When I was dressing the carcass I opened up the chest cavity as usual and found that it contained a good quantity of pussy yellow fluid that looked like custard and had the same consistency. The chest organs were completely disrupted by the shot, so I have no way of knowing if I had smashed open a tumorous lump. I found no sign of abnormal tissue - only this thick 'custardy' yellow liquid.

The kidneys and liver were fine and all the lymph nodes were as they should be. The deer had a good set of teeth and was feeding normally. I have been watching it for a fortnight and it seemed otherwise in good health.

Has anyone ever come across this? Do deer get cancer? Could this be a cancerous discharge?

Please share your knowledge.



Well-Known Member
Sounds like you may have shot through an abscess of some description. Given that the shot may have driven the fluid through the shoulders etc I would condemn the carcass to be on the safe side. Pics may help some of the more knowledgeable guys on here to tell you what it was.




Well-Known Member

First off, I am not knowledgeable (i.e. not a vet), so this is a guess.

It might be an abcess but it also sounds like pyothorax, like you occasionally see in dogs sometimes. It's a build up of pus caused by an infection or foreign object. Although this is about cats, this is a good description:

I only heard about it because our lab bitch had pyometra. With dogs the foreign object can be something like a grass seed. Were there any other punctures in the chest cavity (other than the bullet entry/exit of course ;)). Just wondering if the buck had been fighting with another and it was an antler wound that allowed foreign matter to enter.

I've not heard about pyothorax in deer though. Did you get any photos at all? Also, did you keep any of the liquid? Just wondering if you could drop it off at the vet for analysis.

**update** - good old google, apparently pyothorax is not unknown in deer **

But it's still a guess!!

Hopefully morena might be looking at the threads and be able to give 'proper' advise.

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Well-Known Member
Sounds like a lung abscess to me , see them regularly in all species as I work as a Meat Inspector , tumours will appear as a more solid mass and dont usually contain any pus like material .
atb Brian


Well-Known Member
Found this interesting paper from the 2007 DI conference:

Particularly these two:

Pathology of TB in deer i.e. the internal picture
Forms abscesses rather than granulomas c.f. cattle
Usually thin walled abscesses with fibrotic capsules and little calcification
White, creamy pus
Usually lungs, pleura, lymph nodes and diaphragm
Lymph nodes affected are head, thorax and mesenteric (gut) chain
May be discharging sinuses from lymph nodes
Gross lesions = advanced infection
Can be confused with other disease:
Avian TB (M. avium)
Jöhné’s disease (M. avium ssp paratuberculosis)
Environmental mycobacteria M. mictrotedes etc.

What does it look like in deer?
Enlarged retro-pharyngeal lymph nodes
Large lung abscesses – when cut, firm with mild calcification etc

The problem with all this medical stuff is that I start itching and scratching and becoming convinced that I'm suffering from Green Monkey disease at least!


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Well-Known Member
The problem with reading any of this medical 'stuff' is I then find myself itching, scratching and convinced that I have Green Monkey disease at the very least!

Willie, as we go forward in this modern world of anti-bacs & cotton wool wrapped kids, the old adage of "Eat a peck of dirt before you die" seems a little outdated.:rolleyes:


Well-Known Member
I agree with the posts that this is not cancerous and is probably an abscess. Pyothorax normally leads to increased breathing (as the article on google shows - respiratory rate 100/min). I'd be concerned about TB, even though the lymph nodes are OK. It should be probably reported to the DVM of your area. I'd go with condemning the carcass as the whole of the inside as well as the wound tract will be contaminated. It might be sterile pus, but not worth risking.
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