Short-term Care of White-tailed Deer Fawns (Odocoileus virginianus) in a Conventional Laboratory Animal Facility

Lon V. Kendall, Mary J. Kennett, Richard E. Fish

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2 Scopus citations


Laboratory animal medicine professionals are often required to develop husbandry practices for species not commonly considered for use as laboratory animals. Although protocols exist for management of captive white-tailed deer in an outdoor facility, it was necessary to modify those procedures to house fawns in an indoor facility. Four abandoned fawns were acquired through a cooperative effort with the Department of Conservation. Physical examinations were performed and fecal samples were collected when the 2- to 3-day-old fawns arrived at the facility. All fawns were infested with ticks, which were removed manually. After quarantine of 24 to 48 h, the fawns were moved to large chain-link pens and housed in pairs. Rubber mats covered with wood shavings provided secure footing, and a large portable kennel was used to provide shelter and concealment. Milk replacer formulated for goats was fed via a bottle at regularly scheduled intervals according to the expected caloric needs determined on the basis of body weight of each fawn. Water, hay, and alfalfa pellets were available ad libitum. All fawns gained weight at a steady rate during the 4-month study, with a mean weight gain of 150 g/d. Blood collection was performed at the conclusion of the study to establish reference values for 3- to 4-month-old white-tailed deer fawns. Manual restraint for clinical procedures was sufficient initially, but when the fawns grew too large to handle easily, a combination of ketamine hydrochloride-xylazine hydrochloride was used for sedation. The methods employed were successful for short-term maintenance of the fawns in an indoor facility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-100
Number of pages5
JournalContemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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