Black Bear #18-2569

August 27, 2018
September 26, 2018
Rescue Location
Madison County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Injured face/thin
Former Patient
Patient photo

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On August 27, a yearling male Black Bear was admitted to the Wildlife Center. The bear had been spotted in Madison County for a couple of weeks; he was thin and weak. A private citizen was able to enclose the bear in an empty dog kennel; DGIF biologists responded to the scene to sedate and transport the bear to the Center.

Dr. Peach, the Center’s veterinary fellow, provided a full physical examination on the sedated yearling the following morning. The bear had a deviated nose/muzzle, which curved to the left, as well as a swollen upper jaw and wound on the left side of his face. Dr. Peach gave the bear a body condition score of 1.5/5; the yearling weighed just 11.8 kg. Bear biologist Jaime Sajecki notes that bears this age should weigh at least 27 kg.

Radiographs did not reveal any skull fractures; Dr. Peach thinks the malformation of the bear’s muzzle may be from damage to the cartilage of the nose and not the bones of the face. The yearling also had a wound on the right side of his mouth, near his upper canine. Blood work revealed mild anemia but otherwise was within normal limits. A skin scraping revealed the ursicoptes mange mite, though the bear is not clinical for mange [i.e., the bear does not have thickened, crusty skin or an overwhelming amount of hair loss].

Dr. Peach gave the bear fluids and an anti-inflammatory before she placed the thin bear in a zinger crate in the holding room. Oral antiparasitic medications will be given in food to treat the mites as well as a host of ticks found on the bear.

It’s unclear why this yearling bear is so thin, though it may be due to the old trauma to his face. He may also have been orphaned or separated from his mother last winter and subsequently had a hard time finding food. The bear’s condition is guarded.

Your donation will help provide care to this bear — and the 2,700 other patients the Wildlife Center will treat this year. 

Patient Updates

Early in the morning on September 26, Dr. Peach darted and sedated Black Bear yearling #18-2569 for an examination. The bear’s facial wound had healed very well; the bear’s muzzle was also much improved, and was very nearly straight.

The yearling has been eating well and gained a total of 6.5 kg while he was at the Center. Dr. Peach cleared the yearling for release; DGIF biologist Jaime Sajecki picked up the bear and released him later that morning.

Release photos from Jaime: 


Black Bear yearling #18-2569 was sedated and anesthetized on Thursday, September 6 for a follow-up physical exam and blood work. Dr. Peach found that the wound on the bear’s face was healing well; blood work showed signs of improvement. The bear gained 1.2 kg since his admission and appears to be eating and walking normally in the Center’s Large Mammal Isolation enclosure.

At this point, Dr. Peach does not anticipate any issues that will prevent the yearling’s release; the bear just needs to fully heal from the wound on his upper jaw, and needs to gain more weight.

In the days following his admission, Black Bear yearling #18-2569 ate well and appeared bright and alert. The vet staff carefully checked the wound on the bear’s face each day and noted that it appeared to be static. On August 31, the yearling was moved to the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure to continue his treatment and observation. At this point, the bear is moving and eating normally and he’ll be examined again on September 6.