CORVALLIS, Ore. – Adenovirus Hemorrhagic Disease (AHD) is the likely cause of death in as many as 20 black-tailed deer in a Corvallis neighborhood over the past month, according to pathology tests conducted by state veterinarians.
Since July 23, veterinarians from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon State University have confirmed AHD as the cause of death in two deer carcasses recovered in the Timberhill area of Corvallis. Several other carcasses collected in the Timberhill area also have signs consistent with AHD, according to Dr. Julia Burco, ODFW district wildlife veterinarian.
Timberhill is located in northeast Corvallis next to OSU’s McDonald-Dunn Research Forest.
AHD affects only deer and poses no risk to humans, pets or livestock, according to Burco. The disease is spread primarily by direct deer-to-deer contact and has symptoms that include foaming or drooling at the mouth, diarrhea, seizures and weakness. Fawns are the most susceptible to the disease due to their poorly developed immune systems. Deer exposed to the virus often die within 3-5 days. There is no known cure or effective treatment for affected animals.
So far the AHD outbreak appears to be limited to a herd concentrated in the Corvallis area, although the disease has shown up at other times in other parts of the state. AHD was described as the cause of a die-off affecting thousands of California mule deer in 1993 and 1994. It was also responsible for a smaller outbreak, killing more than 400 animals in the Crooked River Ranch area near Sisters, Oregon in 2002.
Deer are more susceptible to AHD when they congregate in small areas, according to Burco. To keep this from happening, ODFW staff encourages people not to provide water or feed for deer to reduce the likelihood they will congregate, increasing the possibility of disease transmission between individual animals. In addition to spreading disease through direct contact, AHD infected deer may shed the virus into a water source or feed pile, possibly infecting future deer that try to eat or drink at the site.
Persons who see a sick or dead deer are advised to call ODFW’s Wildlife Hotline at 1-866-968-2600 so appropriate diagnostics can be performed or disposal techniques advised.