Black Bear #18-1952

July 11, 2018
September 18, 2018
Rescue Location
Loudoun County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On July 11, an adult female Black Bear was admitted to the Wildlife Center. The severely thin and mangy bear had been seen in Loudoun County; DGIF biologists were able to trap the bear on July 10 to bring her to the Center for treatment.

Dr. Peach, the Center’s veterinary fellow, examined the sedated bear upon arrival. The bear was emaciated, severely dehydrated, and had alopecia [hair loss] on about 90% of her body. The bear’s skin was thickened and irritated, and all of her lymph nodes were enlarged. Skin scrapes confirmed the presence of mange mites. The bear also had a fractured lower left canine, as well as some mild damage to her other teeth. The bear weighed 36.8 kg. DGIF Black Bear Project Leader Jaime Sajecki estimates that the bear is about seven years old, based on her teeth.

Dr. Peach gave the bear fluids and an anti-inflammatory injection and placed the bear in the Center’s Bear Pen and recovered from anesthesia. The team will offer the bear food and will administer a one-time oral dose of medication to treat the mange – the same treatment that was used for Black Bear #17-1298. Bear #18-1952’s prognosis is poor, given the extent of the disease and the bear’s condition. If the bear survives and recovers from mange, the lower left canine may need to be pulled prior to release.

The bear will be closely monitored, and as long as she starts to recover, the team will anesthetize the bear in two weeks to repeat blood work, skin scrapes, and a physical examination.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide veterinary medical care to this bear … and all of the patients admitted in 2018. Please help!

Patient Updates

Black Bear #18-1952 is ready for release!

The veterinary team and biologists with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries conferred last week after the successful root canal of the bear’s injured tooth. Since the bear has made a full recovery from mange, nearly doubled her weight, and is ready for the fall and winter season, everyone decided it would be best to get the adult bear back to the wild.


On September 18, Drs. Ernesto and Karra darted and sedated the bear for a final tooth check and physical examination. An orange ear tag was placed in each ear to identify this bear post-release. A DGIF biologist picked up the bear and will release the bear on September 19. The bear will also be radio-collared prior to release, in hopes that the Center will be able to receive additional post-release information for Dr. Peach’s mange medication study.

Here’s a photo comparison — from day of admission to day of release!

On the morning of September 13, Dr. Peach darted and sedated Black Bear #18-1952 so that she could be loaded into DGIF biologist Jaime Sajecki’s transport truck to head to Richmond for a root canal.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Sam Babbitt at Virginia Veterinary Centers; Dr. Babbit extracted one of the bear’s upper incisors, and performed a root canal and filling on the bear’s lower canine. The procedure went smoothly and was finished just before 12 noon. A big thank you to Dr. Babbitt and his staff for receiving this special patient, donating their time for the surgery, and performing the procedure at cost! And thanks to the Wildlife Center supporter who has helped us meet all of the expenses associated with this procedure.

Dr. Peach, Jaclyn, and Jaime arrived back at the Center in the afternoon and took the Black Bear back to the transition area of yard #3 in the Center’s Black Bear Complex. They were able to back the truck partially into yard #3 so that the bear could jump out of the vehicle into the main part of the yard.

The bear appears to be in great condition; her hair is fully growing in, and she currently weighs 70.8 kg. Dr. Peach and DGIF biologists are tentatively planning for the bear’s release later this month.

Black Bear #18-1952 has been doing well in the Center’s Black Bear Complex as she continues to recover from her severe mange infestation. Now that the bear is stable, gaining weight, and growing in her fur, Dr. Peach decided it was time to address the issue of the bear’s fractured canine.

On admission, Dr. Peach noted that the bear’s lower left canine was fractured; she knew that if the bear survived, the tooth would need to be addressed prior to release. Dr. Peach found a board-certified veterinary dentist who will perform a root canal on the bear. Jaime Sajecki, the DGIF Black Bear Project leader, volunteered to transport the bear in a secure culvert trap, since the procedure will need to take place in the dentist’s office.

The surgery is scheduled for Thursday, September 13; Dr. Peach and veterinary technician Jaclyn will travel with Jaime and the bear to provide assistance.

Black Bear #18-1952 was sedated and anesthetized for a six-week follow-up examination today. Dr. Peach was thrilled to find that the bear had grown in a significant amount of hair – the difference between admission and today is striking!

Blood was drawn and skin scrapings were taken for examination – the diagnostic team did not find any mange mites present. The bear weighed in at 61.7 kg – nearly doubling her admission weight from six weeks ago.

The bear is recovering well from her severe mange infection and Dr. Peach cleared the bear to move to yard #3 in the Center’s Black Bear Complex. The bear was placed in the transition area of yard #3 so that she could fully wake up and recover. The bear will remain in this area until a necessary part comes in to fix the pool in yard #3; once that is fixed, the bear will have full access to a half-acre space. Once she’s in the yard, Critter Cam viewers may catch a glimpse of her!

On July 25, Dr. Peach darted and anesthetized Black Bear #18-1952 for a follow-up examination. It’s been two weeks since the bear’s admission and treatment, and Dr. Peach wanted to carefully check the bear’s skin and hair coat, and also perform another skin scraping to check for mange mites.

The bear was successfully sedated, and Dr. Peach was thrilled to find that the bear is already improving. While the bear’s skin is still thick and crusted, it’s not red, and there is already hair growing back on the bear’s chest and face. Skin scrapings were negative for mites, indicating that the one-time treatment is working! The bear also gained 10 kg since admission.

The next examination is scheduled for August 22, which will be six weeks after admission and treatment.

Black Bear #18-1952 is quiet but alert in the Center’s Bear Pen enclosure; she’s eating readily and has been observed walking in the enclosure. The bear received her one dose of oral medication on Thursday, July 12. The bear will be darted and sedated on July 25 – two weeks after admission – for additional skin scrapes, blood work, and a physical examination.