Whitetail Deer Fibroma: Deer Warts

Whitetail Buck with Warts

Wart  found on the skin of white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family are properly termed fibromas. These fibromas are popularly referred to as skin tumors, or simply deer warts. Histopathologists identify skin tumors from whitetail as either papillomas, fibromas, or papillofibromas depending upon the predominate type of tissue making up the tumor.

There is evidence suggesting that the skin tumors and warts common to white-tailed deer are actually caused by one kind of virus, and that the differences that have been described for their appearance is due to age of the tumor in question. Obviously, a tumor that is 1 week old will look much different than a tumor that is 1 year old.  However, for the purpose of the article, I will refer to all of them as collectively as fibroma.

An infection with fibromas is called fibromatosis. Deer usually do not suffer from the tumors themselves, but deer with firbomastosis can die from secondary complications. Often times, tumors will form around the face and neck that can cause problems for the deer. These issues caused by the warts can be blocked vision, difficulty chewing, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty breathing. If  a deer can not see, feed, or breathe, the animal will not survive.

Most deer tumors are of little consequence to the deer. However, sometimes huge numbers, even clusters of these tumors, can form. These fibromast are usually non-cancerous, but evidence suggest than they can be. Typically, deer with external fibromas have no external problems.

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