A Minnesota based photographer spotted the animal, and captured these heartbreaking images of the deer covered in large tumors, known as fibromas.

“This to me is heartbreaking”

Julie Carow, wrote when uploading these images to Facebook on July 25:

Photographer discovers deer covered in large tumors
Photo: Facebook/Julie Carrow

The post was shared to the Facebook group Big Bone Outdoors were it began to go viral. She later added that officials at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had been notified.

Carrow, a nurse and keen photographer told CityPages that the deer didn’t look unwell, despite being covered in the unusual warts. 

“This deer casually wandered past us,

He did not appear in any distress or malnourished, though I couldn’t see his eyes.”

It has been determined that the deer has fibromatosis, a skin disease common for white-tailed deer and a few other deer species native to North America. The bumps are skin tumors, called fibromas are caused by a papilloma virus.

The DNR’s Michelle Carstensen told CityPages that it was the worst case of fibromatosis she’s ever seen during her 15-years with the state wildilfe programme.

Photographer discovers deer covered in large tumors
Photo: Facebook/Julie Carrow

She also added that the deer’s vision was probably being affected by the huge lumps, which would make escaping from predators a lot more challenging:

“It’s possible these will regress and he’ll survive this,

But it’s also possible he becomes an easy prey item in the meantime.”

Fibromas are randomly distributed on deer but most frequently occur around the eyes, neck, face, and forelegs, according to the DNR. Most often, fibromas occur in deer less than 2 years of age, with a higher incidence of disease in bucks.

Photographer discovers deer covered in large tumors
A healthy white-tailed deer – Pixabay

The disease is not known to infect humans, as they don’t harm the meat, DNR said.

Carrow later wrote on Facebook: “My hope is this disease can get some exposure to help the other deer to maybe cure or prevent this.”

I can’t help but agree with her!