Ask The Biologist

This Is Your Lungs On ...

This Is Your Lungs On ...

By Bob Humphrey

Here’s another example of a strange and interesting deer oddity.

QUESTION: I recently harvested a white-tailed deer that had dark spots on its lungs, but otherwise appeared healthy. Do you have any thoughts on the cause? –Tim S.

ANSWER: My first instinct on hearing “spots on the lungs” is TB (bovine tuberculosis). However, according to several resources I consulted, the lungs of a deer infected with TB would also have small lumps. A much more likely probability in this case is petechial or agonal hemorrhaging. Basically, some sort of trauma caused tiny blood vessels in the lungs to burst.

This Is Your Lungs OnAccording to the Michigan DNR, “...these are associated with the trauma and stress of a hunt chase or capture.”

You did not mention what type of weapon you were using, but this could also result from a gunshot wound. Unlike arrows, which kill primarily by blood loss, gun wounds also produce hydrostatic shock, extreme blood pressure that can cause vessels to burst.

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Copyright 2019 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

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