Blogger Danny sent this image he got recently, and here’s what he said about it:
“I sent this picture to a local game warden who sent it to one of his biologist friends who thinks it is a cutaneous fibroma caused by a virus. I looked back on your blog at a similar post, and that is what you said was the real name for the growths or warts can appear on deer.
“But I’m not 100% certain that this isn’t her eyeball bulging. I remember last fall seeing a doe in the front yard that appeared to have a swollen eyeball, but nothing near the size of what it is now. That thing is huge!
“But I guess it’s possible the growth could just be covering her eye. Whatever it is, it’s sad to see in real life when she’s walking through the yard. This doe seems to be healthy, other than the growth, and she has twin fawns with her in some pictures. They seem to be doing fine too.–Danny
Yes, it looks to be a cutaneous fibroma, a massive one. I ran the picture by QDMA biologist Kip Adams who said, “Wow, I’ve never seen one that large!
Kip goes on to say that fibromas don’t usually bother deer or cause them harm, unless they lead to a secondary infection. They are like warts so sometimes deer can lose them. But Kip doubts this doe will lose this growth given its size.
Another whitetail biologist, Dr. Mick Hellickson, agrees that cutaneous fibromas are rarely fatal “unless they occur near the eyes and block a deer’s vision.”
I’d say this growth will almost surely lead to the doe’s demise. It’s hard to survive in a deer’s world (dodging cars, avoiding predators, etc.) with one good eye and one carrying a massive blob.
Would you shoot this doe during an antlerless season and put her out of what is surely some misery? I would.
Would you eat the meat if you did? I would not. Biologists say that deer with fibroma growths are generally still edible. But even though the mass is on her face, who knows what kind of infection is in there that could eventually spread throughout her body.
BTW, if you do shoot any sick or deformed deer like this and don’t plan to eat it, be sure to contact a local game warden and explain the situation to avoid any wanton waste laws. Take pictures.
Back to the doe with the massive growth. Sad, nature sure is cruel sometimes. I have asked Danny to update us on her condition throughout summer and fall.
Looking closer at that thing, I can see it maybe drying up and falling off. The doe will surely have lost that eye, but she could survive if she loses the fibroma.
I typically don’t keep a camera at this spot, (being that its 10 feet off my driveway) but I’ll leave this one set for a while. Maybe I’ll get a pic sometime soon of her minus the growth. Thanks for clearing up the mystery.