Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Public Meeting to discuss Epizootic Hemorrhagic Diseses in Mule Deer

What is EHD: Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Around this time each year, common to have headlines about dead deer near water sources start popping up in other parts of the United States. However it is a little odd here in Eddy County and in New Mexico. The result in other parts of the country is often deer suffering from one of two hemorrhagic diseases (HD): epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) or bluetongue virus (BTV). So what are these hemorrhagic diseases and what do they mean for deer populations and hunters this fall and associated livestock? To find out, I turned to Kerry Mower of New Mexico Game and Fish, Dr. John Wenzel, DVM NMSU Cooperative Extension Veterinarian and Dr. Sam Smallidge Extension Wildlife Specialist. Dr. Wenzel says in short “EHD is a viral disease and most common in whitetail deer but has been reported in mule deer as well. It’s transmitted by biting midges, commonly called ‘no-see-ums’, and it happens in whitetail deer areas every year.” During the first few days, the infected deer might look and act normal or possibly show minor signs of illness. After the first week symptoms become more apparent and can include depression, fever, swelling in the head, neck, tongue or eyelids, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite and the deer could lose its fear of man, according to Dr. Samantha Uhrig DVM. Then it gets worse. Some deer develop ulcers on their tongue or have the thick pad on the roof of their mouth begin to erode. To make matters worse, fluid can build up in the lungs, and the lining of the rumen can scar. As the symptoms worsen, fever sets in, and the deer seek out water; that’s why infected deer are usually found dead around water sources. If you look at this from a glass half full point of view, there is a bright spot. Kerry Mower of New Mexico Game and Fish wildlife disease specialist says “not all deer that get the disease die. If they don’t die, they develop antibodies.” Antibodies can help deer that have been previously exposed to a mild case of HD, but in many cases a deer that is exposed to HD for the first time dies within five to ten days. While it’s possible that some deer will survive, there is no vaccine or cure for HD today. HD also knows no boundaries. Other animals, like bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope, domestic cattle and sheep are also able to contract the virus. Since it was first reported in 1955, HD has been confirmed in more than 30 states. While the virus is most prevalent in the Southeast, it’s also found in the Northeast, Midwest, southern Canada, the west coast and Eddy County, NM. It was reported in NM in the early 1980’s in fact I did some research on it when I was at the NMSU Livestock Veterinary Entomology Laboratory. All common ruminants are susceptible to infection experimentally, but natural infection in cattle is not common. There will be in informational meeting on September 6 in the Eddy County Extension Office at 7:00 pm. Veterinarians and other specialist will be available to answer questions. The office is at 1304 West Stevens Carlsbad NM. There is not much that can be done to control the disease without controlling the insect vectors. Eddy County vector control is very good at what they do and have expanded their control efforts to meet this challenge but the recent rain will make that more difficult. Livestock producers are encouraged to maintain approved fly control measures. Subscribe to Eddy County Ag news at: http://nmsueddyag.blogspot.com/ Eddy County Extension Service, New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. All programs are available to everyone regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating.

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