Multiple osteochondromas of the antlers and cranium in a free-ranging white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) – 2017. PlosOne 12(3):e0173775.

 Kierdorf, U., K. V. Miller, S. Flohr, S. Gomez, and H. Kierdorf. 2017. Multiple osteochondromas of the antlers and cranium in a free-ranging white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). PlosOne 12(3):e0173775.

This paper reports a case of multiple osteochondromas affecting the antlers and the left zygomatic bone of a free-ranging adult white-tailed buck (Odocoileus virginianus) from Georgia, USA. Along with a few postcranial bones, the antlered cranium of the individual was found in a severely weathered condition and devoid of any soft tissue. The antlers exhibited five pedunculated exostoses that were composed of cancellous bone and, in their peripheral portions, also mineralized cartilage. The largest of the exostoses, located on the right antler, had a maximum circumference of 55 cm. The exostosis arising from the zygomatic bone was broad-based and much smaller than the exophytic outgrowths on the antlers. Diagnosis of the exostoses as osteochondromas was based on their overall morphology, the normal bone structure in their stalk regions, and the continuity of their spongiosa and cortex with the respective components of the parent bones. Antleromas, i.e., pathological outgrowths developing on antlers as a result of insufficient androgen production, were excluded in the differential diagnosis, based on (1) the apparent maturity and, except for the tumors, normal shape of the antlers and (2) the fact that exostosis formation had also affected the zygomatic bone. Previously only a single case of solitary osteochondroma of an antler has been described in the scientific literature. The case presented here is the first report of multiple osteochondromas in a deer. As antlers are regularly collected as trophies, and huge numbers of them are critically inspected each year, the fact that thus far only two cases of antler osteochondromas have been reported suggests that these tumors are very rare.

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