Any Bacterial danger from Deer Antler - International Association of Penturners
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Southington, CT 06489
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Default Any Bacterial danger from Deer Antler

Back in Jan. I turned a number of antler pens. Shortly after, I developed a fever and chills and wound up in ICU for four days fighting a bacterial infection. It took about 7 weeks to run the course. Fever high was 105. Night sweats common.
My turning set up is generally to have a fan blowing left to right between me and my lathe, aimed at the air filter. I was not wearing a mask. (I am now).
My question, since no other cause can be identified, is it possible that I may have inhaled a bug of some type from the antler.
I appreciate your comments. Thanks
"Only time will tell if it was time well spent" Jimmy Buffett
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The pith is the same as bone marrow and has dried blood in it. Never turn antler or bone without good protection.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I had simular symptoms 12 years ago from antler. Found out I was allergic to them. I had Chemo 13 years ago and my body was still at risk back then. Will not touch them even though it has been 13 years since chemo.
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have not had any problems from Antler but I don't trust the long term risk without wearing some type of protection. That dust from antler is so fine, I know it will cause problems down the road if not wearing protection.

No proof to this, but I know what I have seen. My dad makes custom knife handles out of elk antlers. He grinds & shapes the antler using a foredom tool. If you go to his shop when he is working, you can smell the antler before you ever step foot into his shop. He has always had cats running loose around the house & shop. All of his cats have allergy problems. They are always sounding sick. The cats go in & out of the shop all day while he is working. I'm sure they are full of antler dust.
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've never experienced a problem with antler or bone, but I have a pretty strong vacuum at my lathe. If I do anything with it away from the lathe, I always wear a mask. Dennis
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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This has been hashed to pieces here...any antler, bone or nail dust inhaled will cause death with even a small prolonged exposure. The macrophages in the alveoli in your lung can't process it and remove it so it builds scare tissue causing fibrotic lung disease...think mesothelioma. Your cure is a ling transplant...good luck with that. Why people turn without breathing protection is beyond my ability to understand.
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Double up on what Mr. Burr says they all are nasty stuff! Contrary to some things on the net your lungs are not self cleaning. What goes in doesn't come out other than mostly a surgeons knife.
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear about your trouble Russell, and glad that you are feeling better!!

But think of it this way, if the little devils can survive hydrothermal vents, frozen wastelands, toxic pools...not to mention outer space , I'm betting at least some can survive antler.

A mask is probably a good idea!
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