Veterinarian comes to aid of fawn found with eyes covered in ticks

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Some may find images and video of the fawn disturbing. Discretion is advised.

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – On June 13, on a country road on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, a blinded fawn ran frantically, bumping into stopped cars as drivers watched, not knowing what to do. 

That is, until Brad Nadelstein and his wife Sommer arrived on scene.  

They shot video of Nadelstein cradling the fawn in his arms and Sommer narrating,  

“So, we stopped due to the traffic, and this is why. The fawn couldn’t see. Talk about stopping in front of the right car. Her eyes are embedded with ticks on both sides, she was panicked,” Sommer said. 

Lucky for that little fawn, that “right” car contained Nadelstein, who happens to be a veterinary ophthalmologist in Virginia Beach. Yes, he’s an eye doctor for animals.

The picture they took that day is disturbing to look at. The photo shows a layer of ticks on top of more ticks and infection. 

Nadelstein then called Gay Frazee, who operates Wildlife ER Education and Rehabilitation in Northampton County. She would spend several hours over days removing between 500 and 1,000 ticks from the deer.

“I’m not sure how many I pulled. In the first pass, I would pick out the ticks, but then we’d find more in the following days.” 

Nadelstein operates Animal Eye Care in Virginia Beach and detailed the process further.

“We remove all these ticks, clean around the eyes, and get rid of all the infection. Then remove all the debris and drain some of the abscesses around there,” he said.

In new pictures of the fawn, the animal’s eye is cleaned up and beginning to heal. They say the fawn was lucky.

“The cornea was thankfully fine, the swelling of the eyelid has protected her eyes, so the ticks didn’t get to the eye because it was so swollen,” Nadelstein can be heard saying to Frazee in another video.

“We don’t know if the ticks came first, or the infection came first,” Nadelstien told WAVY.  

But why would a deer stay in one place so long, and allow the accumulation of ticks to begin with?

“Sometimes they get an infection, and they aren’t feeling well, and it is systemic infection through their body, and they lay in one spot for a long time and then the ticks begin to collect on them … The mother may have abandoned this one because she couldn’t keep up and they can’t follow the mother,” Nadelstein said.

Frazee sent more pictures from Monday morning, which show a marked difference in the condition of the deer. There’s no doubt that the Nadelsteins and Frazee saved this fawn’s life.  

In the upcoming month, Frazee says the fawn, now known as “The Nadelstein Deer,” will be returned to the wild.

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