Diseases and Parasites of Maryland Deer

Hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts sometimes observe deer with physical abnormalities or view a deer behaving in an unusual manner. Click on the following pictures or topics to learn more about the most commonly observed maladies in Maryland’s white-tailed deer.

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Not all deer that exhibit abnormal behavior or reduced movement are sick. When deer are injured, they may reduce their movement or remain close to humans until their injury heals. A few deer are born with abnormalities such as three legs. Many injured deer and deer with abnormalities can survive and lead a normal life. While not a disease or parasite, piebald deer are a result of a genetic anomaly.

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Click here to learn more about piebald deer.

Piebald Deer anomaly, photo by USFWS
Piebald anomaly, photo by USFWS

For more information about white-tailed deer parasites and diseases, visit the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study Web site. The publication “Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases in the Southeastern United States” (third edition) by William R. Davidson and Victor F. Nettles explains and describes in detail parasites and diseases of southeastern birds and mammals. It is available for purchase through the website listed above.

For more information, please contact:
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife and Heritage Service
Tawes State Office Building, E-1
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 260-8540
Toll-free in Maryland: 1-877-620-8DNR, Ext. 8540

Photographs are used with the permission of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study located at the University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine.