Black Bear cub #19-0050

January 23, 2019
Rescue Location
Winchester, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Burned in a fire
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated

On the afternoon of January 23, the Wildlife Center received a Black Bear cub that had been burned in a fire. Sadly, within 24 hours, the cub succumbed to her injuries and died.

The cub was in a large wood pile on a homeowner’s property in Winchester; the brush pile had been present for years and was lit on fire on the morning of January 23. An adult bear was seen running away, then someone heard crying from the burn pile and found two cubs. The cubs were quickly taken to a local veterinary clinic.

Sadly, one bear cub died en route to the veterinarian; the second cub, a female, was severely burned. The cub was given subcutaneous fluids and her wounds were cleaned before being transferred to the Wildlife Center that afternoon.

Dr. Peach examined the cub when she arrived; the tiny bear weighed in at 430 grams. The bear cub’s respiratory rate was normal, though Dr. Peach heard wheezing as the cub breathed. Dr. Peach determined that the cub had generalized second to third-degree burns, mostly in her mouth, legs, chest, and top of her skull. About half of the pad of the cub’s front left paw was severely burned.

The wounds were cleaned, and an ointment was applied on the bear’s burns to help prevent infection. Dr. Peach started the cub on a course of pain medication, along with antimicrobial medication. The cub was placed in an incubator with both heat and oxygen support.

The staff knew that the severity of wounds made the cub’s overall prognosis poor to grave. The burns were severe and there was a high risk of deterioration and possible sepsis. Smoke inhalation is also life-threatening.

Wildlife rehabilitator Brie and veterinary technician/wildlife rehabilitator Jaclyn determined a 'round-the-clock feeding schedule and came in throughout the night to bottle-feed the cub. On the morning of January 24, Jaclyn reported that the bear was very quiet at the 5:00 am feeding. Sadly, within a few hours, the bear passed away.