A photographer in Minnesota captured these shocking images of a sick deer.
The deer was covered in fibromas that are a result of a viral infection. They do not directly harm the infected animals, but they can lead to vision loss which makes them more susceptible to predators.
Wart-like growths found on the skin of white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family are fibromas. They are popularly referred to as skin tumors, or simply warts. Histopathologists identify skin tumors from deer as papillomas, fibromas, or papillofibromas depending upon the predominate type of tissue making up the tumor. Since there is evidence that skin tumors common to deer are caused by one kind of virus, and the differences that have been described for them is due to their age, all will be treated as one, the fibroma, in this discussion. An infection with fibromas is called fibromatosis.
Fibromas are conspicuous as firm, nodular masses fastened only to the skin and varying in diameter from 10 to more than 100mm. All are fleshy. Some are covered with gray or dark skin which often is scratched and bleeding. Others have a black, dry, hard surface that may be fissured much like the head of a cauliflower. The larger ones tend to be pendulous because of their weight and stem-like attachment to the skin.
Fibromas are randomly distributed on deer but occur most frequently about the eyes, neck, face, and forelegs. They may be single or multiple. Light infections are a common occurrence in white-tailed deer. A heavily infected deer may have 25 or more. Occasionally, in multiple infections, they are so numerous and close together that they join into a coalescent mass. However, the incidence of severe involvement is extremely low, judging from the fact that not more than 2 or 3 cases in the whole state are reported to us a year.
You can learn how state wildlife agencies work to prevent this disease and other in this episode of Outdoor Weekly
Images from Julie Carrow via Facebook screen shot