Black Bear cub #17-2035 [Double Yellow]

August 6, 2017
April 5, 2018
Rescue Location
Roanoke County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Hit by vehicle
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On August 5, a Black Bear cub was found under a bridge beside a road in Roanoke County, Virginia. It appeared as though the cub was hit by a vehicle; no sow was seen in the area. The bear was taken to the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center for stabilization and overnight care before he was transported to the Wildlife Center the next morning.

Dr. Monica, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, examined the male cub when he arrived. The young bear was quiet, had normal respiration, but was not bearing weight on his right front leg. A physical examination revealed a laceration on the bear’s front left leg and a possible jaw fracture; Dr. Monica noted an atypical laxity [looseness] at the mandibular symphysis [where the two halves of the bottom jaw join together at the chin], though no fracture was noted on radiographs. Radiographs did confirm a complete fracture of the bear’s right humerus, along with evidence of lung contusions.

The bear’s lacerated leg was sutured, and Dr. Monica carefully bandaged the fractured right leg to keep the bones well-aligned. The cub received antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and pain medication before he was placed in a zinger crate in the Center’s holding room.

The following day, the bear was still stable, though the staff will watch carefully since internal injuries could worsen. The veterinary team will determine a plan to repair the bear’s fractured leg; while the surgery could possibly be done in-house, it’s likely that it would be more successful at a small-animal emergency clinic, where a greater variety of surgical pins and plates are available for an animal of this size.

Your special donation will help the Center provide care to this injured Black Bear cub … and to the other 2,500 patients that the Center will treat this year.

Patient Updates

Black Bear cub #17-2035 [Double Yellow Tags] has been doing well during the past two weeks in the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure. The bear is walking normally on his now-healed leg, and on October 19, the staff decided to move him to the Bear Complex. A live trap was set and baited in the Large Mammal enclosure; the cub took the bait and was easily trapped during the day. The cub was moved to the transition area of yard #1 so that he can see, smell, and interact with the other nine bear cubs for a day before they all have access to one another on October 20.

Black Bear cub #17-2035 has been healing well during this past few weeks. On Friday, October 6, Dr. Alexa darted the cub so that she could take eight-week post-op radiographs of the bear’s injured leg. Dr. Alexa also removed the wire that was inserted through the bear’s fractured jaw. The cub weighed in at 20 kg – despite recovering from a jaw fracture, the cub hasn’t had any issues putting on weight since his admission!

With a clean bill of health, Dr. Alexa placed the cub in one side of the Center’s Large Mammal Isolation enclosure – this area is still restricted, but is a larger space for the cub. The staff will observe the cub carefully during the next couple of weeks, and if all is well, the bear will be moved in with the other cubs in the Center’s Black Bear Complex.

Black Bear cub #17-2035 has been healing well during the past couple of weeks; the team has observed the cub placing weight on his healing leg, and the bear has been eating well. With the recent movement of Black Bear yearling #17-1767, cub #17-2035 was moved to the connecting chute of the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure. This space is still quite restricted for the bear, to prevent him from moving too much on his leg as it heals, but this is a larger space than the cub has had access to recently.

The cub is scheduled for his eight-week post-op radiographs on October 6.

Black Bear cub #17-2035 has been doing well since last week’s surgery; he’s bright, alert, and feisty! The rehab staff have been offering a bowl of soft food for the bear, which the cub is eating well. The cub will remain in a zinger crate in the Center’s holding room for several more days; once bear yearling #17-1767 [currently housed in the connecting chute of the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure] is approved to move to a larger area, then cub #17-2035 will take his place to continue to heal.

On August 11, Drs. Alexa and Monica transported Black Bear cub #17-2035 to the Virginia Veterinary Surgical Associates in the Richmond area for surgery with Dr. Alex Padron. Dr. Alexa gave many updates during the surgery – Dr. Padron was able to successfully insert two pins into the bear’s fractured humerus before inserting a plate over the fracture site. He was pleased with the alignment.

After the leg was repaired, Dr. Padron moved on to fixing the bear’s mandible fracture; while a fracture was not visualized on radiographs, the bear’s jaw was easily moved on physical examination, indicating that there was an issue where the two halves of the lower jaw joined. Dr. Padron inserted a needle with a wire through the underside of the bear’s jaw to stabilize the fracture. The wire will need to be removed in about eight weeks.

The bear recovered from surgery well; the bear will be in the Center’s holding room for the immediate future while he starts to heal.

During the past two days, Drs. Monica and Alexa have been coordinating the surgery for Black Bear cub #17-2035. Dr. Alex Padron of Virginia Veterinary Surgical Associates in Richmond has agreed to do the surgery, which is tentatively scheduled for Friday, August 11. Dr. Padron will plate the bear’s fractured humerus; he’ll also investigate the young bear’s suspected mandible fracture and may wire the fracture if needed.

In the meantime, the bear has been eating well in the Center’s holding room. The veterinary team will continue to check the bear’s bandage daily, and re-bandage as needed.