A captive adult male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with wasting and neurologic signs similar to chronic wasting disease (CWD) was evaluated by histopathology, histochemistry, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) for disease-associated prion protein (PrPd). On histologic examination, the brainstem had areas of vacuolation in neuropil and extensive multifocal mineralization of blood vessels with occasional occlusion of the lumen. Some of the clinical and pathologic features of this case were similar to the CWD of white-tailed deer. However, the tissues were negative for PrPd by IHC. Because the lesions were more prominent in the obex region of the brainstem, it is speculated that this would have resulted in clinical signs similar to CWD in white-tailed deer. To our knowledge, neither cerebrovascular mineralization nor clinicopathologic changes resembling CWD have previously been described in white-tailed deer without the presence of PrPd. Such a case should be considered in a differential diagnosis of CWD of white-tailed deer.
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Vol. 44 • No. 4