Black Bear yearling #17-1767

Admission Date: 
July 12, 2017
Location of Rescue: 
Madison County, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Suspected hit by vehicle
Prognosis: 
Guarded
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

On July 12, a female Black Bear yearling was found on the side of the road in Madison County, Virginia. An officer with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries responded to the scene and was able to capture the bear and transport her to the Wildlife Center.

At admission, the bear was in respiratory distress; Dr. Peach, one of the Center’s veterinarians, ran an oxygen line into the crate to begin oxygen therapy. No improvement was noted, so Dr. Peach sedated the bear and began her physical examination. Dr. Peach was able to palpate a fracture near the bear’s left elbow; radiographs revealed a hairline fracture of the bear’s left ulna and a fracture of the left humerus, as well as evidence of pulmonary contusions. The bear also had a thin hair coat and some mild lesions; a skin scraping confirmed the presence of mange mites. She weighed 19.2 kg.

The bear’s leg was carefully splinted before she was set up in a zinger crate in the Center’s holding room with supplemental oxygen; the following morning, the bear’s respiratory distress was about the same, but by Thursday, July 13, Dr. Ernesto noted that the bear was much more feisty. 

The yearling’s particular fractures will require a specialized fixation, due to the nature and location of the fractures. Dr. Peach consulted with Dr. Alex Padron, a surgery resident at the Virginia Veterinary Surgical Associates in Richmond, who worked on two Black Bears last year for the Wildlife Center. As long as the bear's condition is stable, Center staff will plan to transport the yearling to the Richmond area for this specialized surgery.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to this injured Black Bear ... and to the 2,500 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals the Center will treat this year.

Updates

August 4, 2017

Black Bear #17-1767 has been doing well in the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure for the past week; the bear only has access to the chute that connects the two larger enclosures so that her movement is still limited on her healing leg. The staff check the bear each day; the yearling has been standing normally and bearing weight evenly on all four limbs. During the next month, the bear will remain in this area so that she continues to heal; radiographs are scheduled for September 8, which will be eight weeks after her surgery.

July 27, 2017

Black Bear #17-1767 has been healing well during the past week and is nearly at the two-week post-op mark. The bear has been eating well and bearing weight on all four legs equally. On July 26, the staff moved the yearling to the chute of the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure; this will allow the bear a little more room than a zinger crate and will allow her to see and smell a more natural environment. The bear will need to remain in this small space to heal for several more weeks before she’s allowed to be more active in a larger space.

July 21, 2017

Black Bear #17-1767 has been healing well this week. Each day, the vet team checks on the bear to monitor her appetite, how much weight she’s bearing on her injured leg, and her general attitude. So far, the bear has shifted fairly easily between zinger crates in the holding room; this is the best way to ensure the bear gets a clean area each day. The yearling has been placing her weight on her injured leg for the past few days, and is eating well.

July 17, 2017

On the morning of July 14, Wildlife Center staff transported Black Bear yearling #17-1767 to the Virginia Veterinary Surgical Associates in Richmond. In addition to placing screws in the bear’s elbow to fixate the fracture site, Dr. Padron inserted a metal plate on the bear’s ulna (the outermost of two bones in the forearm). 
  
The procedure was completed without complication in roughly two hours, and the bear had several radiographs taken. After reviewing the radiographs, Dr. Padron determined that reinserting longer screws into the bear’s elbow would be the most effective long-term treatment for the fracture, and took the bear into surgery for a second time. The second surgery was a success, and the bear was transported back to the Wildlife Center after ensuring an uneventful recovery from anesthesia.

 

Throughout the weekend, the yearling remained in the Center's indoor holding area. Veterinary staff have reported that the bear is recovering well, has a healthy appetite, and is beginning to show a bit of feistiness. On July 16, she was transitioned back to a normal diet of hard foods, allowing her daily pain medications to be administered orally.

For now, the bear will remain in the Center’s indoor holding area where veterinary staff will be able to asses her healing and recovery on a daily basis before determining the next step for this yearling.