Deer with Hair Loss Syndrome

Asked March 12, 2018, 2:02 PM EDT

We have a number of deer living and passing through our property in SW Polk County near Falls City. One of them appears to have hair loss syndrome. Is there any type of study that could be set up if we were willing to participate? Or way we can help them? There was a method back East in Lyme disease areas in which paint rollers impregnated with medication placed on four posts with treat in center, deer rub on it and get med on them. How much funding would be needed for this as in we could do a gofundme? Fish and Game currently is not intervening just say to not let them congregate.

Polk County Oregon

1 Response

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) did some cooperative (with OSU) research years ago when the syndrome was fairly new to our state. There are currently no treatment solutions for free-ranging wild animals. You made a good decision in reaching out to ODFW, and they do appreciate citizens' help in continuing to map and document locations of affected deer. ODFW has some informative resources on hair-loss syndrome here
I hear your concern for the affected individuals. However it's important to remember that wildlife species are managed as populations, meaning that we acknowledge that some will be affected by all manner of factors that affect their productivity and longevity, including disease, parasites, predation, competition for food, and even accidents. ODFW's guidance on avoiding or discouraging congregations of animals, such as what occurs around human-provided food (intentional or unintentional) bonanzas, is guided by population management principles because closely-packed interactions of affected and non-affected deer increase the chance of transmission. Many deer that display the syndrome one season apparently can survive to continue on. However if your continued monitoring reveals that an individual animal is suffering to the point of being close to expiration, then I would urge you to contact your ODFW District Biologist again - They may need to remove the animal to avoid having the carcass act as an source of exposure for other deer.