Black Bear #16-1817

August 10, 2016
March 1, 2017
Rescue Location
Winchester, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On the morning of August 10, an adult Black Bear was trapped in Winchester, Virginia. The bear was very skinny and had significant hair loss, likely due to mange. A VDGIF biologist transported the bear to the Wildlife Center.

When the bear arrived, Dr. Ernesto, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, darted the female bear to safely sedate and anesthetize her for a physical examination. Once the bear was safely asleep, Drs. Ernesto and Dave carried her into the Center’s treatment room.

The bear weighed in at 63.3 kg and was very thin and dehydrated. The team drew blood for analysis and performed several skin scrapings to diagnose the type of mange; licensed veterinary technician Leigh-Ann was able to identify sarcoptic mange. No fractures or other significant injuries were found. Dr. Ernesto gave the bear subcutaneous fluids, an anti-parasitic medication, and anti-inflammatories. Dr. Dave took photos of the bear’s teeth to properly determine the bear’s age. The teeth are worn and yellow, leading the staff to guess that she is at least three years of age. One of the bear’s canines is broken; Dr. Dave thinks that the tooth will likely need to come out, but first the bear needs to be treated for mange.

The bear will be housed in the Center’s Bear Pen for the next few weeks.

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

Patient Updates

On February 8, Dr. Peach darted and anesthetized Black Bear #16-1817 for a final check prior to release. When the bear was first admitted last summer, the veterinary team noted that one of the bear’s teeth was fractured and discolored; they wanted to examine the teeth again to see if an extraction was needed while the bear was still at the Wildlife Center. Fortunately, the bear’s teeth appeared to be in the same condition; while some are discolored and possibly dead, there is no sign of inflammation or any other issues that would warrant a major surgery.

With a clean bill of health, the bear was approved for release. On March 1, a biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries picked up the bear for release. The bear was returned to the general part of the state where she was found, though not exactly where she was picked up, due to the bear mange issue. The bear weighed 85 kg at release.

Black Bear #16-1817 has been doing well during the past few months in the Center’s complex. The bear’s fur has grown back in beautifully; she looks like a totally different bear from her August admission!

The Wildlife Center staff and VDGIF Black Bear Project Leader Jaime have been discussing release plans for the bear; since the bear is up and active and not showing any interest in denning, the team decided to go ahead and release her. This is particularly beneficial given that the Center’s current bear case load is at 19 bears, and soon the staff need to rearrange some of the yearlings currently in care.

The staff is waiting to hear back from the VDGIF biologist in the Winchester region to determine the pick-up and release date.

On October 19, Dr. Ernesto was able to successfully dart and anesthetize Black Bear #16-1817 for an examination. The bear’s fur has grown back in beautifully; the staff were pleased with the bear’s condition and appearance. Blood was drawn for analysis, and several skin biopsies were taken for a study at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS). A skin scraping was also taken to check for mites — no mites were found.

The bear will remain at the Center at least until January.

On September 21, Dr. Peach darted and anesthetized Black Bear #16-1817 for an examination. The veterinary team took a skin scraping to check for additional mange mites and also took several skin biopsies. Licensed veterinary technician Leigh-Ann was happy to report that no mites were found on the skin scraping, which meant the bear was cleared to move to the Black Bear Complex. Dr. Peach was pleased to see the bear’s hair growing back nicely.

The bear recovered well in the transition area of bear yard #3. The bear will soon be allowed to have full access to the yard, and the staff will continue to monitor her as the rest of her hair continues to grow back.

On August 24, Black Bear #16-1817 was darted and anesthetized for a physical examination and another injection of an anti-parasitic medication. Dr. Ernesto is pleased to see some of the bear’s hair already growing back, but the bear still has a long road to recovery. The bear has been quiet the past few days, though is eating.

An additional skin scraping was performed, and licensed veterinary technician Leigh-Ann only found one dead mite. The bear’s crusty skin is improving, but the thickening of the skin and scabs are still quite severe. Dr. Ernesto bathed the bear with a medicated shampoo in case the bear was feeling uncomfortable during the healing process.

The bear was returned to the Center’s bear pen for recovery and monitoring.

An interesting note — after Black Bear Project Leader Jaime Sajecki saw photos of the bear’s teeth, Jaime estimates that this bear is at least 10 years old!

In the news: Bear with mange has long road to recovery at Wildlife Center of Virginia, WHSV-TV