Deer Parasite?

Discussion in 'Michigan Whitetail Deer Hunting' started by wfransee, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. :help: After field dressing a deer this weekend, I noticed some "worms" wiggling in the chest cavity. They were about 3 inches long, translucent (clear/white), and very slender. The best way to describe them would be like a heavy piece of monofilament fishing line (about 20 pound test). I'm not sure where they came from as this was not a gut shot deer -- no holes in the intestines or stomach. There was signifant damage in the chest cavity, so I'm assuming that they could have come from the esophagus, heart, lungs, or backed up from the stomach.

    Anyone else ever run into this? The deer appeared to be very healthy. I examined the internal organs, and even cut the intestines open to see if I could find any more, and I could not.

    Wanna kill these ads? We can help!
    #1 wfransee, Nov 24, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2015
  2. Heart worm?

  3. Well, I did a search online for heartworms, and that is what the worms looked like in my deer. Do you know if deer are susceptible to them???
  4. I have found a tape worm in a deer once.......It sounds like a round worm......
  5. 0f course they are, But heart worms are larger around than 20# test and I don't think they are transparent. Could they be menangeal worms, do you hunt near a water source that could contain snails?
  6. I am not sure if there is a type of heart worm that infects deer. The heart worm that infects dogs is fairly host specific with the intermediate host being the mosquito. There have been cases of this type of parasite infecting cats and even a case in a human, but that would be extremely rare.
    My guess is that the worm you found was a type of arterial worm that can infect deer.

    Elaeophososis-arterial worm

    Elaeophoria schneideri is another nematode parasite infecting deer. The adult worm occurs in the carotid arteries and related areas. Female worms produce microfilaria that are carried throughout the body via the blood where they concentrate in specific locations, especially the skin of the head. Horseflies become infected when they feed on this area and acquire the microfilaria while feeding. The parasite matures in the fly and is inoculated when the fly feed on a susceptible host. In white-tailed deer, the most common sign of infection is oral food impactions, tooth loss, and occasionally fractured jaw bones. Infections in other animals, such as elk, often result in damage to tissue as a result of restricted blood flow to areas distal to the worms. Diagnosis is by detecting adult worms in arteries of infected deer. Infections in Oklahoma are rare and limited in distribution to the eastern regions

    Here is a picture....

    What do you think?
  7. Well, I sent a note to the MI DNR through their website (Ask the DNR), and the following is there response:

    >>>11/25/2008 04:20 PM What you are describing is an abdominal worm called setaria. They live free in the abdomen and we see them every now and then. No need to be alarmed and there should be no concern over eating the meat of the animal. Congratulations on a successful hunt.<<<

    I did a little searching online and found some info with pics. The worms on the site are larger than what I observed, but look similar. I'm going to send a follow up to the DNR to see if deer are susceptible to the heart worms.
    #7 wfransee, Nov 25, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2015
  8. I've seen them in the abdomen more than once.

    If you fry them up just right with a little garlic, they make one hell of an appetizer.

  9. Thanks I was just eating!!:lol::lol:

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