Feature Review Series - The health and welfare of farmed deer

Feature Review Series - The health and welfare of farmed deer
Peer reviewed

Abstract


This issue of the New Zealand Veterinary Journal contains our second Feature Review Series, this time comprising six state-ofthe-art reviews on the Health and Welfare of Farmed Deer. Topics have been chosen to elaborate areas of veterinary science of both national and international importance, and have been contributed by acknowledged experts in these fields. This review series has been sponsored by the Deer Branch of the New Zealand Veterinary Association, whose support is gratefully acknowledged. Our intention is to include a Feature Review Series in the December issue of the Journal each year.
The last 35 years has seen the birth of a new farming enterprise and the development of a whole new industry around it. Deer farming in New Zealand started with the capture and domestication of wild deer in the 1960s, 70s and 80s and now deer are accepted as normal farm livestock. There has been a steep learning curve for farmers, veterinarians and scientists to enable them to deal with behaviour, nutrition, breeding, health and welfare issues. Significant advances in these areas have been recently summarised in the Jubilee issue of the New Zealand Veterinary Journal (See Wilson, NZVJ 50, 105-109, 2002). Deer in the wild appeared to be very healthy, but their capture and adaptation to a farming environment resulted in losses due to undernutrition, misadventure and trauma. Stress-related diseases, such as malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) and yersiniosis, soon became apparent. Increased stocking density and grazing on pasture led to parasite problems, especially lungworm. The first case of Mycobacterium bovis infection in farmed deer was identified in 1978 and by the early 1980s, tuberculosis was recognised as a major problem. In 1983, a voluntary scheme for the control of tuberculosis in deer was introduced, after intensive discussions and collaboration between representatives of deer farmers, veterinarians and government officials. This was followed by a compulsory control scheme in 1990. Trace element deficiencies, especially copper, became apparent in the early 1980s. Johne`s disease first appeared in the late 1980s and is now recognised as a serious potential threat to the industry. Deer parapoxvirus, facial eczema, ryegrass staggers, "fading elk syndrome", cryptosporidiosis, leptospirosis, and Brucella ovis have all made their appearance and been managed to a greater or lesser extent...

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