Deer keds (Lipoptena cervi) are blood-sucking flies in the family Hippoboscidae; moose (Alces alces) are their main host in Scandinavia. There are no detailed reports of the negative impacts of deer keds on moose. In 2006 and 2007, hunters in southeastern Norway and midwestern Sweden found several moose cadavers with severe alopecia; numerous moose had extensive hair loss. Between February 2006 and June 2007, materials from 23 moose were submitted for laboratory examination and large numbers of deer keds were found in the coat of most animals. The body condition of the moose varied but was poor in animals with severe alopecia. The findings of enormous numbers of deer keds in the coat of the majority of the affected animals and a consistent histologic image (acute to chronic, multifocal to coalescing, eosinophilic to lymphocytic dermatitis), concurrent with the absence of any other lesions, trace element deficiencies, or dermal infections which are known to cause alopecia, suggest that the hair-loss epizootic was linked to massive infestations with deer keds. The emergence of this hair-loss syndrome implies that the dynamics between parasite and host have been disrupted by a currently unknown environmental or ecological factor. A high moose density, combined with extraordinarily mild weather June 2006–June 2007 and a particularly long period with the absence of night-frost in autumn of 2006, may have been ideal for deer ked development, survival, and optimal host acquisition.

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