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I went to the Pittsburgh Zoo over the weekend, and went into the deer petting section. After petting the deer, I noticed about a

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  • I went to the Pittsburgh Zoo over the weekend, and went into the deer petting section. After petting the deer, I noticed about a

    I went to the Pittsburgh Zoo over the weekend, and went into the deer petting section. After petting the deer, I noticed about a half hour later huge welts all over my hands that were insanely itchy, almost like mosquito bites. When I started thinking about it, when I field dress a deer in the winter, the same thing happens, but I always figured it to be from the cold. Does this happen to anyone else? Is this just an allergic reaction or is something biting me? Any information would be great.

  • #2
    Fleas would be my guess. I sometimes get that exact same reaction on my hands and arms when I carry squirrels I've shot, and I often see fleas on the carcasses, so I presume that they are the culprit. (Before anyone brings it up; yes, I know it's a bad idea to allow rodent fleas to bite you, since they can carry the plague, and I try to avoid it by using gloves or carrying the squirrels in a bag, but sometimes I slip up - thankfully I live a pretty much plague-free area)
    I've never had that happen with deer though, and I don't even know if they carry fleas, but the symptoms sound identical.

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    • #3
      I had a friend who was hospitalized with severe allergic reaction to a deer he and i had drug out of the woods and butchered. I think its something the deer got into that it transferred to you. Deer dont worry about poison ivy,sumac or whatever elese. They lay in it or move through and it is on them. My wife gets poison ivy off my clothes every summer, yet it does not bother me...

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      • #4
        I would say fleas. As long as the animal is alive they will stay on it. Shortly after it dies, they will jump off the meal wagon.

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        • #5
          -Anything else besides the hives on your hands(cough, etc.)? I don't think it would be bug bites if the same thing happens during the winter(fleas etc die off). Do you cut out the tongue or check the teeth when you kill a deer/did the deer at the zoo lick you? If yes, the saliva could be culprit.
          -Next time you field dress a deer just wear some latex gloves.

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          • #6
            @JM: I don't remember if the deer licked me or not. I thought the same about the bugs, when I got that doe last year, it was extremely cold out. I do have dog allergies where my eyes get puffy and water, but never break out in welts. And, the welts are my only symptoms; once I put cortizone on them they go away, they do not leave bumps behind, like a mosquito bite does. As for the gloves, I will have to try it out next time with them on, I just feel like I wouldn't be as thorough with my slices and may jab myself.

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            • #7
              @officerdom1987,
              Even brain surgeons wear gloves; sometimes more than one pair. It will not make it any harder if you have the right sized gloves.

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              • #8
                Just FYI, don't assume there aren't fleas, lice, etc. present on a critter just because the air temperature is cold. The fur/hair of most animals traps body heat well enough that the little buggers can easily live through the winter next to the skin, even when temps fall below zero. I've found fleas and lice on raccoons and squirrels in the middle of winter, when the thermometer hasn't gotten above freezing for days.

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