American Beaver #23-0153

March 1, 2023
Rescue Location
Augusta County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Suspected fight with another beaver
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On March 1, Center staff received a call about an injured beaver in Lyndhurst, Virginia. The caller reported that the beaver had a significant limp and crawled underneath a vehicle. Usually, the Center relies on the public to bring in injured wildlife, but the beaver’s location was only a five-minute drive from the Center, so front-desk supervisor Michael Adkins and wildlife rehabilitator Ben Cole drove to the scene, contained the injured mammal, and brought it back to the Center for an exam.

The beaver was bright, active, and alert upon admission. A physical examination by veterinary intern Dr. Marit revealed that the beaver, an adult male, was dehydrated, underweight, and had wounds on his hip, chest, and left leg. All the wounds had discharge, and an old wound was noted on the webbing between the beaver’s left foot. Radiographs did not show any internal trauma. Based on the nature of the wounds, the vet team suspects that this beaver was injured in a fight with another beaver. Late winter and early spring is the time of year when juvenile beavers disperse to establish their own territory; altercations between males are not uncommon during this time.

After the exam, Dr. Marit cleaned and bandaged the beaver’s wounds and started the large mammal on a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication to aid in the healing process. The beaver was placed inside the hospital holding area to rest overnight and was moved to the Center’s Large Mammal Isolation enclosure the following morning.

On March 4, the vet team anesthetized the beaver to surgically debride his wounds. The surgery went well, but the wounds became severely infected during the following days. Vet staff also discovered that the beaver had a fractured toe on his left foot. On March 7,  the vet team brought the beaver inside the hospital to surgically remove the fractured toe. Due to the length of the surgery, staff kept the beaver inside the hospital overnight.

The vet team plans to continue with the current treatment plan while closely monitoring the beaver’s wounds. The beaver’s prognosis remains guarded.

This beaver is the second beaver patient admitted to the Center during the past two weeks — both patients are featured on Critter Cam #2! Please note that the beavers are in separate enclosures and do not have visual access to each other.

You can help support our work with native wildlife.

Your donation will help provide veterinary medical care for this injured beaver and approximately 4,000 other patients that the Wildlife Center will help this year.


Patient Updates

Sadly, American Beaver #23-0153 was found deceased in his enclosure on the morning of April 8. Though the beaver’s wounds had been healing well, the beaver was underweight for an adult male and had not been eating well despite the many varieties of foods offered by staff. The exact cause of the beaver’s death is unknown but may be due to the stress of captivity combined with his poor body condition.

During the past month, American Beaver #23-0153 has been showing some signs of recovery in the Center’s LMI enclosure. In addition to daily wound checks, cleaning, and bandage changes, the veterinary staff surgically dehisced and resutured the wound on the beaver’s left foot on March 19 and 25. Dr. Karra, the Center’s Director of Veterinary Services, reports that the beaver’s wounds have remained clean and free of infection since then and are showing solid signs of proper healing. A lack of physical coordination has been observed during daily checks, but the veterinary staff suspect this may be related to the location of the beaver’s wounds.

The staff have been concerned about the beaver’s appetite and willingness to eat. On March 30, the beaver weighed in at 7.18 kg — underweight for a healthy adult male. Based on leftover and uneaten food items, Center staff have determined that this beaver currently has a strong preference for corn compared to other vegetables and produce items. During the coming days more corn will be added to his diet in an attempt to improve his overall body condition and weight range. While corn isn’t the most nutritional preferred food item, at this point, the staff just want to add some calories to the beaver’s diet. The beaver’s prognosis remains guarded.