Preputial Aplasia, Ectopic Testes, and Suspected Intersex in a Chinese Muntjac Deer (Muntiacus reevesi)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2012

S. Emmanuelle Knafo1, DVM; Noha Adou-Madi1, DVM, DACZM; Kirsty Gallacher1, BVMS, MRCVS; Donald Schlafer2, DVM, MS, PhD, DAVP; George Kollias1, DVM, PhD, DACZM; Thomas Labarge3; Robert Gilbert1, BVSc, MMed Vet, MRCVS, DACT

1Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA; 2Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA; 3The Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Syracuse, NY, USA


A six-year-old intact male Chinese muntjac deer (Muntiacus reevesi) was examined because of blood in the exhibit. The source of bleeding was the distal penis. Examination revealed a reduced penis, preputial aplasia, and ectopic testes. Paraphimosis and paralysis of the penis resulted secondary to an absent inner lamina of the prepuce. The testicles were subcutaneous, caudal to the umbilicus, and cranial to the penis in a cranial-caudal orientation. No body wall defect was identified. A reproductive examination was performed under general anesthesia, which revealed normal male internal accessory sex glands and normal ultrasonographic structure of the testicles. Given the external abnormalities and risk of continued trauma to the penis, partial penile amputation and castration were elected. A Williams’ phallectomy and castration were performed without complication. Serum estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone before castration were 18.43 pg/ml, 4.37 ng/ml, and <0.01 ng/ml, respectively. Two weeks and two months after castration, estradiol and progesterone values were 31.99 pg/ml, 34.7 pg/ml; and 1.23 ng/ml, 5.28 ng/ml, respectively, with persistently low (<0.01 ng/ml) testosterone. High estrogen and low testosterone can be seasonally normal in white-tailed deer1; however, elevated progesterone is likely explained by the presence of ovarian tissue or atypical Cushing’s syndrome.2,3 Histopathology of the testicles did not demonstrate ectopic ovarian tissue. Abdominal ultrasound failed to identify reproductive tissue. Persistent progesterone suggests this muntjac deer is possibly intersex with internal active ovarian tissue. This is believed to be the first reported case of preputial aplasia, ectopic testicles, and possible intersex in any cervid.


The authors thank Dr. Linda Homco for her continued assistance as a diagnostic imaging consultant. Additionally, we thank the keeper staff of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo for their dedication and conscientious care of this animal while it was in their charge.

Literature Cited

1.  Bubenik GA, Morris J, Schams D, et al. Photoperiodicity and circannual levels of LH, FSH, and testosterone in normal and castrated male, white-tailed deer. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1982;60(6):788–793.

2.  Oliver J. Steroid profiles in the diagnosis of canine adrenal disorders. Proceedings from the 25th ACVIM; 2007. Seattle, WA. 471–473.

3.  Plotka ED, Ulysses S, Verme L, et al. Reproductive steroids in deer. III. Luteinizing hormone, estradiol, and progesterone around estrus. Biol Repro. 1980;22(3):576–581.


Speaker Information
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S. Emmanuelle Knafo, DVM
Department of Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY, USA

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