Inferior brachygnathia in neonatal fawns occurred sporadically over a 10 yr period in a captive herd of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in southern Ontario. Two fawns submitted for necropsy had marked inferior brachygnathia, protruding tongues, and fractured long bones. Radiographs of the limbs revealed longitudinal striations of relatively translucent immature woven bone that caused loss of distinction between medullary cavities and cortices. Microscopically, there was failure of remodelling of the primary spongiosa and filling of the medulla by cone-shaped chondro-osseous cores. The findings supported a diagnosis of osteopetrosis, usually a hereditary disease characterized by absence of marrow cavities as a result of defective bone remodelling. Osteopetrosis has not been reported previously in deer.
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Vol. 26 • No. 4