While it has been demonstrated that persistent bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) infections can be established in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) following in utero exposure in the first trimester of gestation, there is little to no information regarding the outcome of infection in later stages of pregnancy in deer. Our goal was to observe the impact of infection of white-tailed deer in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Five white-tailed deer in the second trimester of pregnancy and four in the third trimester were infected with a BVDV type 2 virus previously isolated from a BVDV-infected deer harvested from the wild. Infection of deer in the second trimester of pregnancy resulted in loss of the pregnancy in three of five deer. Fawns born to the two remaining deer appeared normal and were born BVDV antigen–negative with neutralizing serum antibodies against BVDV. Infection of does in the third trimester of pregnancy did not result in fetal death or persistent infection and all does gave birth to live, healthy fawns that were BVDV antigen-negative and born with antibodies against BVDV. These results, combined with those previously reported regarding BVDV infection in the first trimester of pregnancy, suggest that the impact of BVDV infection of pregnant white-tailed deer is very similar to that observed in pregnant cattle.
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Vol. 48 • No. 3