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Osteochondrosis associated with copper deficiency in young farmed red deer and wapiti x red deer hybrids

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Osteochondrosis is reported in association with copper deficiency in young red deer and wapiti X red deer hybrids on eight deer farms throughout New Zealand. On two farms, more than 30% of fawns were affected. Affected animals were lame, often had one or more swollen joints, and in some cases had an abnormal “bunny-hopping” gait or “cow-hocked” stance. Lesions were most common in the carpal, tarsal, stifle and hip joints, and were usually bilateral. Defects in articular cartilage ranged from loose flaps to complete separation with exposure of subchondral bone and the presence of cartilage fragments within the joint space. In advanced cases, the joints had features of degenerative arthropathy. Bilateral epiphyseolysis of the femoral head was observed in some severely lame deer. All deer with osteochondrosis had low serum and/or liver copper concentrations.

Keywords: Copper; Deer; Skeletal

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: August 1, 1994

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