From December 1983 to December 1984 a study on parasites, diseases and health status was conducted on sympatric populations of sambar deer (Cervus unicolor) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) from St. Vincent Island, Franklin County, Florida. Ten sambar and six white-tailed deer were examined. White-tailed deer had antibodies to epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus and bluetongue virus. Serologic tests for antibodies to the etiologic agents of bovine virus diarrhea, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, vesicular stomatitis, parainfluenza 3, brucellosis, and leptospirosis were negative in both species of deer. White-tailed deer harbored 19 species of parasites; all were typical of the parasite fauna of this species in coastal regions of the southeastern United States. Sambar deer harbored 13 species of parasites, which apparently were derived largely from white-tailed deer. The only exception was Dermacentor variabilis which occurs frequently on wild swine on the island. The general health status of sambar deer appeared to be better than that of white-tailed deer. This was hypothesized to result from the sambar deer's utilization of food resources unavailable or unacceptable to white-tailed deer and to the absence and/or lower frequency of certain pathogens in sambar deer.
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