North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Wart-like Growths

The wart-like growths are most likely cutaneous fibromas. Cutaneous fibromas are caused by a virus, and they are relatively common on white-tailed deer. The growths can range in size from a fraction of an inch to several inches in diameter. Infected deer typically have five or fewer tumors, but more than 200 tumors have been observed on some animals. Although the tumors can be found on any area of the body, they are found most commonly on the head, neck, shoulders and forelegs. The tumors typically do not cause any harm to the deer, and they usually regress and eventually disappear with time. The virus that causes them to grow in white-tailed deer does not infect other wild animals, domestic animals or humans. Cutaneous fibromas are confined to the skin and are removed when the deer is processed for consumption. Unless there is evidence of secondary bacterial infection in the underlying tissues, the animal can be skinned, butchered and consumed as normal. Although the tumors may be grotesque in appearance, they do not affect the quality of the meat.