Six fallow deer (Dama dama) fawns died after receiving 25 to 150 infective larvae of Parelaphostrongylus tenuis. Fawns given higher doses usually died sooner (6 to 23 days) than those given lower doses (54 to 67 days). Early deaths were associated with severe acute peritonitis resulting from perforation of the intestinal wall; later deaths were associated with paralysis and inability to rise. Numerous adult P. tenuis were found within neural tissues of the brain and spinal cord in the three fawns with paralysis. One white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) exposed to infective larvae from the same source survived infection without exhibiting clinical signs and began passing larvae in feces 88 days post-exposure. At the doses used in this study, meningeal worm caused fatal infections in fallow deer. Results are compared to published observations of fallow deer naturally-infected with P. tenuis.
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Vol. 28 • No. 1