Black Bear yearling #17-1767

Admission Date: 
July 12, 2017
Location of Rescue: 
Madison County, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Suspected hit by vehicle
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.


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.