Last modified: Monday, September 16, 2013

Wildlife disease in Utah

Tumors and abscesses

Virus-caused tumors (warts, fibroma, papilloma) are commonly found in deer, and occasionally elk, moose, and antelope. These tumors are growths of varying size and shape, usually found on the head, neck, or shoulders. A wide variety of other tumors have been reported in internal organs of various species. Additionally, similar tumors are sometimes found in the skin of rabbits and squirrels and in the oral cavity in coyotes.

Tumors usually regress and rarely cause mortality unless they impair an animal's vision or ability to feed. The virus is believed to be transmitted through direct physical contact and could possibly be spread by biting insects. These tumors are species-specific and are not believed to be transmissible across species. If tumors do not involve the meat or deeper tissues, they do not affect the quality or edibility of the meat. If the tumor extends into muscles under the skin, the area around the tumor should be removed and discarded.

Abscesses are firm lumps filled with white or green pus that are found within an animal's tissue. They are usually the result of a wound infection and can occur in animals that appear healthy and behave normally. Abscesses and surrounding tissue should be removed and discarded, and care should be taken to avoid cutting into an abscess, which could spread contamination.

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