There is a lack of information on mineral requirements of free-ranging white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). In addition, mineral deficiencies or excesses may play a role in the development of parasitism/malnutrition syndrome. We measured hepatic mineral values in apparently healthy white-tailed deer from two sites in Virginia, USA, as well as in deer with presumptive parasitism/malnutrition syndrome during 2005–2007. Deer with presumptive parasitism/malnutrition syndrome that were displaying signs of emaciation and chronic diarrhea had significantly higher mean hepatic levels of magnesium (Mg) and zinc (Zn) compared with healthy deer. Healthy deer in our study from northern Virginia, USA (i.e., Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Prince William counties) had significantly lower mean hepatic selenium (Se) levels compared with deer from Nottoway County, Virginia, USA, which is 200 km distant. Healthy deer from northern Virginia, USA, also had significantly lower mean hepatic cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), and molybdenum (Mo) levels. Adult deer had significantly higher mean levels of hepatic iron (Fe) compared with fawns. In addition, male deer had significantly higher mean hepatic Co levels compared with female deer. The significantly higher mean (±SD) level of Zn in sick deer from northern Virginia, USA (78.7±54.9 μg/g versus 35.8±7.4 μg/g in healthy deer) is potentially clinically significant, although no signs consistent with Zn poisoning were observed. All deer in our study from northern Virginia, USA, had marginal or deficient levels of Cu (mean±SD=27.4±18.3 μg/g) and Se (mean=0.08±0.03 μg/g), which may be predisposing this population to the development of parasitism/malnutrition syndrome.
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Vol. 46 • No. 2