Brain Abscesses in White-tailed Deer
Occasionally TWRA receives questions about bucks that are killed with yellow/greenish liquid coming from the eyes or around the bucks' antlers...
NASHVILLE - Occasionally TWRA receives questions about bucks that are killed with yellow/greenish liquid coming from the eyes or around the bucks' antlers. This fluid is pus caused by a brain abscess.
Brain abscesses can occur in bucks or does. However, brain abscesses predominantly occur in bucks and are seasonal in nature.
The brain abscesses are typically caused by injuries sustained by rutting behavior. This includes antler growth, fighting, rubbing trees, and the shedding of antlers. Bacteria enter through the wounds, destroying tissue, and making holes in the skull to infect the brain.
Bucks with brain abscesses show abnormal behavior such as circling, appearing to be blind, showing no fear of humans or dogs, exhibit lameness, have foot sores, and appear emaciated. Upon closer examination, bucks will have swollen eyes, may have broken antlers, and be producing a yellow/greenish pus draining from the eyes and antler base.
Brain abscesses are always fatal, and the meat should not be eaten.