The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is a common and widespread North American game species. To evaluate the incidence, clinical manifestations, demography, and pathology of bacterial and parasitic dermatologic diseases in white-tailed deer in the southeastern United States, we retrospectively evaluated white-tailed deer cases submitted to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study from 1975 to 2012. Among 2569 deer examined, bacterial or parasitic dermatologic disease was diagnosed in 88 (3.4%) individuals, with Demodex spp (n = 37; 42.0%) and Dermatophilus congolensis (n = 19; 21.6%) as the most common causes. Demodicosis was significantly more common in deer older than 2 years and was most often detected in the fall; no statistically significant sex predilection was identified. Affected animals had patchy to generalized alopecia, often distributed over the head, neck, limbs, and trunk; microscopic lesions included epidermal crusts and cutaneous nodules with mild perifollicular, lymphoplasmacytic inflammation. Dermatophilosis was most common in males younger than 1 year that were often found dead. Crusting, erythema, and alopecia occurred on the face, ears, and distal extremities. Less commonly, infectious dermatologic diseases were associated with other bacteria (n = 13; 14.8%), fungi (n = 5; 5.7%), ectoparasites (chiggers, lice, mites, and ticks; n = 11; 12.5%), and larval nematodes (n = 7; 8.0%). Population-level effects of these diseases in white-tailed deer are likely minimal; however, due to their dramatic presentation, demodicosis, dermatophilosis, and other infectious skin diseases can be of concern to hunters and, in some cases, may have zoonotic potential.
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