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Translucent worms when field dressing

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I was field dressing my deer when I found some translucent threadlike worms. I've never seen anything like it. The deer was not gut shot, so I don't think it was intestinal / tapeworms.


I do believe it was previously hit in an earlier hunt this year, nicked on the shoulder with the skin split. The front shoulder / foreleg area was yellowish, but there weren't any maggots.


Anyway, has anyone seen anything like this? Is the meat safe to eat / process?


I took a video. I'll see if I can get it uploaded later.

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Thanks for the thread. Could be Elaeophososis-arterial worm according to one of the posts. The snap shot looks very similar to what I recorded (see youtube link)


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FYI - Ran this by AZGF on facebook and had this exchange:


Arizona Game and Fish Department


I shared your note and video with Anne Justice-Allen, DVM State Wildlife Health Specialist here at the Arizona Game and Fish Dept., and here was her reply: "It looks like those worms are in the peritoneal cavity (the space between the stomach/intestines) and the body wall because the surface below the worms appears to be the rumen. If this is correct, then the worms are Setaria cervi. They don’t affect the meat and generally don’t cause any problems for the animal. If they are from another location, then they may be a different type of worm. As long as they aren’t in the muscle, the meat should be fine."

Hope that works for you, Martin. Congrats on your successful hunt!




Martin Lee

Thank you very much for the information.

If I recall, I moved the worms to the stomach with my knife so that they'd be more visible for me to film them. I believe I first saw them as I was clearing the diaphragm area ... but its sorta a blur now. The movement caught my eye.

There was some muscle degradation / loss on the front shoulder blade that was noticeable, but that could have been from his wound. There wasn't much meat remaining covering that left shoulder where there was a 1" x 2" open wound in the skin. (picture attached). Initially I thought that the wound you see was where I hit the deer, but upon skinning the deer, I found that I had hit the buck just behind that lesion. That would explain the limp i thought I saw when he took a step. I only saw him limp once though and didn't make anything of it. I wish I took a picture of the deer skinned. That front shoulder down the foreleg was yellowish looking like it had been fighting infection. Unfortunately, we had to scrap that portion as it didn't look fit to consume.

This is somewhat of a case of which came first, chicken or the egg. Open wound must've caused muscle atrophy and infection. As long as it is confined to that front left shoulder, the backstraps and hind quarters should be good, right? Sounds like the worms could have been there already or could have been introduced by the wound? My dad has the neck, ribs, right front shoulder, and legs. So he could be more at risk given the proximity.

I'll try to do further research on Setaria Cervi.

By the way, I have another picture with my tag attached. Lol.

Regards, Martin.

  • 276973_88910615677_262679923_q.jpg
    Arizona Game and Fish Department

    Hi Martin: I ran your email past Dr. Justice-Allen again, and here was her reply:

    "The worms that Martin saw are still most likely to be Setaria cervi and were not introduced thru the wound. The backstraps and majority of the carcass should be fine. The wound looks pretty fresh and I don’t see a lot of infection. If I were him, I’d trash the shoulder and the some of the adjacent neck (he could cook the best parts of it really well and feed it to his dogs if he has any – they won’t mind any quality issues and cooking it will get rid of the bacteria, discard anything adjacent to the wound)."

    Anne Justice-Allen, DVM State Wildlife Health Specialist Arizona Game and Fish Dept.

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