Tuberculosis (bovine TB) in deer

A chronic disease, it can take years for affected deer to show clinical signs of bovine tuberculosis.

Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis. It is a chronic disease, and affected deer may not show clinical signs for years.

Bovine TB mainly affects cattle, but it can be passed between most mammals – including, rarely, humans.

Signs of bovine tuberculosis

Live deer may not show any outward signs of infection. However, animals with advanced disease may have diarrhoea and become emaciated, or they may just be quiet and generally unwell.

Internally, the tuberculosis lesions can develop in any organ.

The signs and symptoms of bovine TB are indistinguishable from those of avian TB, which is not a notifiable disease. Diagnosis can be confirmed only by laboratory analysis.

More about bovine tuberculosis

Visit the Scottish Government's web page on bovine tuberculosis to find information on the current status of the disease in Scotland.