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725040 6 NOSoRuTthHeEaAstSeTrnE RNNat uNrAaTliUstR NAoLteISsT V13o(l.1 8):,3 N9–o4. 24
Odocoileus virginianus (Boddaert) (White-tailed Deer) with
Roger D. Applegate1,*, John A. Bryan II2, and M. Kevin Keel2
Abstract - A male Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer) had a 1.42-m segment of large/
small intestine entrapped in its scrotum. This report is the second documented instance of this
anomaly, which is common in inbred lines of domestic animals and man.
The scrotum and testes of a male Odocoileus virginianus (Boddaert) (Whitetailed
Deer) were submitted to the first author by a hunter who had harvested the deer
on 26 December 2007. The deer was a minimum of 3.5 years of age, in good physical
condition, and had hardened antlers with 10 measurable points. Prior to harvest,
the deer had been seen for the previous 3 years with an enlarged scrotum that was
described as extending near the ground.
The scrotum and testes as received from the hunter were 21 x 17 x 9 cm and
weighed 1.96 kg. Our examination revealed a 1.42-m segment of large/small intestine
protruding through the inguinal canal and entrapped in the scrotum (Fig. 1).
Ingesta were present in the small intestine and fecal pellets in the colon. It is not
known whether this male was fertile.
Scrotal hernia occurs when the intestines or other organs protrude through the
inguinal canal and into the scrotum. Schlegel et al. (1972) documented scrotal hernia
in White-tailed Deer, but the prevalence of this anomaly in deer is unknown. Scrotal
hernia occurs relatively frequently in inbred lines of Sus scrofa (L.) (Domestic
Swine) and other domestic species and humans (Magee 1951, Vogt and Ellersieck
1990). It may occur inadvertently during the complex process of testis descent when
Notes of the Southeastern Nat u ral ist, Issue 8/4, 2009
Figure 1. Section of intestine protruding into the scrotum of a White-tailed Deer with a scrotal
2009 Southeastern Naturalist Notes 755
the inguinal canal is open to permit downward movement of the testes (Amann and
The primary risk with this condition is catching the scrotum in a fence or other
object in the environment leading to castration or entrapping the deer. Other complications
may be loss of fertility and problems with intestinal motility.
Amann, R.P., and D.N.R. Veeramachaneni. 2007. Cryptorchidism in common eutherian mammals.
Magee, W.T. 1951. Inheritance of scrotal hernia in swine. Journal of Animal Science 10:515–522.
Schlegel, M.W., T.A. Leege, and R.F. Lapen. 1972. Scrotal hernia in a White-tailed Deer. Journal
of Wildlife Diseases 8:320.
Vogt, D.W., and M.R. Ellersieck. 1990. Heritability of susceptibility to scrotal herniation in
swine. American Journal of Veterinary Research 51:1501–1503.
1Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, PO Box 40747, Nashville, TN 37204; 2Southeastern
Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia,
Athens, GA 30602. *Corresponding author - firstname.lastname@example.org.