Abomasal Parasitism and Physical Condition in Southeastern White-Tailed Deer

The relationship between abomasal parasitism and physical condition was studied in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the Southeast. On both an individual animal and herd basis, the level of abomasal parasitism was inversely related to physical condition. Differences (P ≤ 0.05) in physical condition were noted among herds in each of 3 abomasal parasite count (APC) categories (namely, <500, 500-1,500, >1,500). The relationship between abomasal parasitism and herd physical condition was not cause and effect; rather, both parameters were reflective of the status of deer density relative to habitat carrying capacity. Present data verify that APC values are indicative of overall herd health. Instances in which APC data can be of particular value in deer management are discussed.

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