On May 5, a citizen found a bear cub on the side of the road in Pittsylvania County. The cub was alone and had a wound on its back. The bear was taken to a local permitted wildlife rehabilitator, who cleaned maggots from the wound and treated the bear with an anti-parasitic medication and medicinal honey. The following day, a Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries officer transported the cub to the Wildlife Center.
Dr. Dana examined the male cub, who was bright, alert, and very feisty. Dr. Dana carefully examined the wounds, and identified three additional very small wounds, in addition to the larger wound that was initially treated. The hair around the abrasions was shaved and Dr. Dana cleaned and treated the wounds. The cub was thin and weighed 2.85 kg.
The following day, the bear was placed under anesthesia for a more thorough physical examination and blood work. No additional injuries were noted, and Dr. Dana was able to closely examine the skin wounds present on the bear’s back. Dr. Dana clipped a little more hair around each wound, and only noted discharge from one; each wound had healthy, pink tissue present. Dr. Dana attempted to cover the wounds with a sticky, transparent dressing, but the film did not stick well to the cub’s surrounding fur. Instead, Dr. Dana covered the wounds, wrapped cast padding around the bear’s thorax and abdomen, and then applied a “t-shirt bandage”. The bear received a long-acting antibiotic injection and a red identification tag in his left ear.
The cub was placed in a zinger crate facing Black Bear cub #16-0487 (White Tag); the two cubs will be allowed to interact when the new cub’s wounds have healed.
Dr. Dana planned to clean the cub’s wounds daily, and to attempt debridement and suturing on May 11 or 12, as long as the wounds were healing well with no signs of infection. On Sunday, May 8, it became clear that it was going to be very difficult to handle Red Tag for daily cleaning and treatment; the cub is a handful! Dr. Dana decided to go ahead and suture the wounds closed, in hopes that this would mean less handling in the coming days, and a quicker introduction to White Tag.
The veterinary staff will monitor the bear cub closely; the cub is currently wearing a protective e-collar.