Antler Deformities
Risk Factor
  • The size and shape of antlers depends on sex, food, age, and heredity.
  • Some of the reasons that antlers exhibit abnormal growth include:
    • inadequate nutrition;
    • injuries to antler-growing regions on the skull;
    • metabolic or hormonal deficiencies;
    • abnormal fetal development;
    • genetic predisposition;
    • injuries to velvet;
    • leg injuries.
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Antler Deformities Antler Deformities
Abnormal antler growth in cervids.
  • Antlers are unique to cervids (deer family), and deformities are commonly reported by hunters and wildlife professionals throughout North America.
  • Anecdotally, they are more commonly reported in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) than mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus).
  • Deformities are reported throughout the period of the year when they are present.
Signs and Symptoms
  • Abnormal antler growth has been described variously as:
    • oddly shaped or located points;
    • more points than normal;
    • points not originating from “normal” positions on the rack;
    • pronounced asymmetry.
Meat Edible?
  • Discounting other disease conditions, meat from deer with abnormal antler development is considered just as edible as from deer with normal antler development
Human Health Concerns and Risk Reduction
  • There are no public health concerns associated with free-ranging cervids with abnormal antlers.
Samples for Diagnosis
Further Reading
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