Black Bear #19-1743

June 19, 2019
Rescue Location
Greene County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Former Patient
Patient photo

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An adult female Black Bear was admitted to the Wildlife Center on June 19; the bear had been seen in Stanardsville, Virginia, by a homeowner who was concerned about the bear’s appearance. A DGIF biologist was able to trap the bear on June 18.

Dr. Peach, the Center’s veterinary research fellow, anesthetized the bear when she arrived. The bear was extremely thin, with a body condition score of 1/5 and was severely dehydrated. The bear undoubtedly had mange; about 90% of her coat was thinning or missing, and the bear had crusty scabs and skin thickening all over her body. Dr. Peach took samples for skin scrapings, drew blood for analysis, and gave the bear subcutaneous fluids.

Veterinary technician Leigh-Ann examined the skin scrapings and found live Sarcoptes spp. mites — more than she’s seen from one bear to date! Dr. Peach notes that this is one of the worst cases of mange she’s seen in a bear; prognosis is poor to grave due to the severity.

The bear was moved to one of the Center’s bear pens and recovered from anesthesia. The bear will be a part of Dr. Peach’s treatment protocol research, using a single-dose of oral medication to treat mange. The rehabilitation staff offered the bear a small, tasty pastry and were able to confirm that she ate it; after that, they dosed a second pastry with the mange medication. As long as the staff confirms that the bear ate the medication, Dr. Peach will schedule a two-week physical examination and skin scraping.

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Patient Updates

Sadly, the rehabilitation staff found Black Bear #19-1743 deceased in her enclosure on the morning of Friday, June 21. It’s likely that the severity of the bear’s emaciated condition and heavy mange mite burden was too difficult to overcome. DGIF regional wildlife manager Jaime Sajecki estimated that this bear was 12 years old based on photos of her teeth.