Necropsy of 2 white-tailed deer fawns who died acutely revealed diarrhea and melena in case No. 1 and no gross changes in case No. 2. Histologically, the livers of both deer displayed multifocal coagulative necrosis, with infiltrations of neutrophils, macrophages, and lymphocytes. By Warthin-Starry staining, bundles of filamentous bacteria were identified within hepatocytes at the periphery of the necrotic foci in case No. 1. There was multifocal myocardiocyte necrosis in case No. 1 and multifocal lymphoid necrosis of the Peyer's patches in case No. 2. Clostridium piliforme 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid gene was detected in both livers by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with C. piliforme-specific primers. The liver copper levels in both cases were normal to slightly elevated. The kidney copper level in case No. 2 was elevated. This represents the first published cases of Tyzzer's disease in deer, a novel use of PCR for the diagnosis of C. piliforme infection, and a possible association between copper toxicosis and Tyzzer's disease.
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