Nine white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were experimentally infected with Cowdria ruminantium, the causal agent of heartwater. All deer developed clinical signs; one was killed, one was treated, and seven died within 2 wk postinoculation. Diagnosis of heartwater was based on clinical signs, postmortem lesions and by microscopic observation of C. ruminantium in endothelial cells of brain capillaries of dead animals. Cowdria ruminantium was passaged by collecting blood from deer at the height of the febrile response and intravenous inoculation of susceptible deer and goats. Tetracycline was effective in the treatment of heartwater in a deer.
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