By: John Bowers, GA DNR Game Management Chief
This deer was a road-killed deer found in Cherokee County, near Canton. The tumor-like, “warty” growths on this deer’s head surrounding both antlers are most likely fibromas or antleromas. Fibromas are caused by a virus which is thought to be transmitted by various biting insects. However, another possible means of transmission of the viral agent is direct contact.
Fibromas are gray or black in color, can vary widely in size and can appear as a single or multiple growths. Antleromas are similar, but they can become massive. Several studies on antleromas have suggested a link between abnormal testosterone levels and antler growth abnormalities. However, we cannot be certain whether such is related to this instance.
Rarely do these abnormalities cause deer any problems, but occasionally the location of a large growths can interfere with sight, eating, breathing, or even affect the ability of the deer to walk. Occasionally, a bacterial infection can develop. No human infection from fibromas or antleromas has been reported. The only concern would be from an animal with extensive bacterial infection, which would render the deer unsuitable for human consumption. These “warty” growths are of no significance to the health of the deer population.