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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 30 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.
 

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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 30 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.
Most likely they are lungworms (Dictyocaulus viviparus) these are pretty common in deer, and they probably came out of the lungs when shot, it sounds like about the correct size.
 

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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 about the lung worms and whether or not deer are susceptible to heart worms.

http://mdc.mo.gov/nathis/mammals/deer/disease.htm
 

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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 about the lung worms and whether or not deer are susceptible to heart worms.

http://mdc.mo.gov/nathis/mammals/deer/disease.htm
They could very well be correct although usually Setaria are larger and I took your description to indicate that the parasites were in the chest and that there was lung damage, and it sounds like the meat should be safe either way.
 
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