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Fibromatous lesions of antler velvet and haired skin in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus)
  1. A. P. Foster, BSc, BVSc, PhD, Dip, ACVD, MRCVS1,
  2. A. M. Barlow, BVSc, MSc, MRCVS2,
  3. L. Nasir, BSc, PhD3,
  4. C. D. Wilson, BVMS, MRCVS4,
  5. D. J. Everest5,
  6. K. Erdelyi, DVM, PhD, Dip ECZM6,
  7. C. J. Finnegan, BSc, MSc, PhD5 and
  8. A. Schock, PhD, FRCPath, MRCVS7
  1. 1Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA)—Shrewsbury, Kendal Road, Harlescott, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 4HD, UK
  2. 2Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency-Langford, Langford House, Langford, North Somerset BS40 5DX, UK
  3. 3MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Affiliated to the School of Veterinary Medicine College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, Garscube Estate, Bearsden Road, Glasgow, G61 1QH, UK
  4. 4Donview Veterinary Centre, Burghmuir Place, Blackhall Industrial Estate, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire,
    AB51 4FW, UK
  5. 5Mammalian Virus Investigation Unit, Department of Virology, AHVLA Weybridge, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK
  6. 6National Food Chain Safety Office, Veterinary Diagnostic Directorate, 1149 Budapest, Tabornok u. 2, Hungary
  7. 7Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency—Lasswade, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik EH26 OPZ, UK
  1. Email for correspondence: Aiden.foster{at}ahvla.gsi.gov.uk

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Fibromatous nodular lesions were observed on the antler skin of reindeer from four separate farms, and from the haired skin from a deer from a fifth farm. The aim of this study was to investigate if the proliferative lesions represented an unusual manifestation of a viral infection. Despite extensive investigations using immunohistochemistry, PCR and electron microscopy, no evidence of viral involvement could be demonstrated. The aetiology of the lesions remains unknown.

Fibropapillomas are nodular or plaque-like lesions associated with papilloma virus (PV) infection; they have been observed in several deer species, including reindeer (Sundberg and Nielsen 1981, Ginn and others 2007). The histopathological findings typically include proliferation of dermal fibroblasts. Reindeer papilloma virus (RtPV1) has been detected in papillomatous lesions involving the haired skin of reindeer (Narechania and others 2004). In this report, we describe fibrous proliferation of the dermis of lesions involving the antler velvet and haired skin of reindeer from several farms; despite various investigations, PV was not detected, and the aetiology of the lesions was not determined.

Between 2009 and 2012, case material from five British farms with small groups of reindeer was submitted to five regional laboratories of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) for diagnostic investigation as part of the AHVLA New and Emerging Disease Programme.

The first case was a five-year-old castrated reindeer with multiple plaques, crusts and draining sinuses involving the haired skin of the distal hindlimbs (Fig 1). The lesions spontaneously resolved 18 months after presentation; one in-contact deer was unaffected. Samples were submitted from a second case from a farm with a herd of 10 castrated males of which six had variable numbers of lesions involving the antler velvet observed over a two-year period. The lesions consisted of multiple fleshy nodules with some ulceration and crusting. On a third farm, three …

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