The prevalence of mandibular osteomyelitis, which results in a condition called lumpy jaw, and factors associated with its occurrence were investigated in syntopic free-living populations of red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) and fallow deer (Dama dama) in Spain. The study material consisted of 3,586 mandibles from 2,548 red deer and 1,038 fallow deer shot during sport hunting, herd management culls, and programs for population control between 1988 and 1997 (period 1) and 2002 and 2009 (period 2) in eastern Sierra Morena, southern Spain. Disease prevalence ranged from 0.36% to 10.91% among age groups. Older animals were significantly more likely to be affected than younger ones. Red deer stags had higher prevalence than other groups. There was a significantly higher prevalence in period 1, probably associated with differences in climatic and population conditions. High population densities of female red deer contributed significantly to occurrence of disease. Intensive herd management and poor environmental conditions were considered risk factors that increased susceptibility to disease. The study of this affliction could be useful for monitoring general herd welfare and ecologic changes in Mediterranean ecosystems.
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Vol. 48 • No. 1