Black Bear yearling #19-0057

January 25, 2019
April 4, 2019
Rescue Location
Warren County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Underweight, lethargic
Former Patient
Patient photo

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On January 25, a small female Black Bear yearling was admitted to the Wildlife Center from Bentonville, Virginia. The thin and lethargic bear was found on a private citizen’s porch the day before. The Department of Game & Inland Fisheries arranged for the bear to spend the night at Blue Ridge Wildlife Center before she was transferred to the Center the next day.

On admission, the bear was quiet but alert and responsive. Dr. Karra, the Center’s veterinary intern, anesthetized the bear for a full physical examination. Dr. Karra estimated that the bear had a body condition score of 1/5, and weighed only 6.4 kg.

Dr. Karra’s full report:

“The bear’s hair coat was in good condition, aside from a small amount of alopecia [hair loss] and crusting on her inguinal [groin] skin folds. Her teeth were very worn for a bear of this age – most notably her canines. She had a few minor abrasions on her paw pads that appear to be old and healing well.

“Radiographs were performed and revealed an increased opacity [opaqueness] in a focal area of her lung fields. The cause of this increased opacity is not known, but it may be attributable to some minor hemorrhage [bleeding] in the lung associated with previous trauma, a parasitic disease of the lung (lungworm etc.), or pneumonia. Currently, the patient’s respiratory status is within normal limits, and there are no other clinical signs of the aforementioned differentials, so we will monitor her respiratory status for now, and if she develops clinical signs of respiratory issues, we will repeat radiographs and treat accordingly.

“On radiographs, the patient’s pelvis appeared mildly asymmetrical, however, on physical exam, no abnormalities can be appreciated. It is possible this patient suffered trauma when she was younger that led to this mild asymmetry. This finding is likely insignificant and should not cause this bear any issues in the future, however, thus far she has only been in a small crate/zinger, so we will need to evaluate her gait in a larger space to ensure this isn’t leading to any deficits.

“A complete blood count was performed and found to be within normal limits. A chemistry panel is pending. A fecal analysis was performed and found to have no parasites, however, the sample was very small so we will attempt to collect a fresh sample in the days to come. Skin scrapings revealed one live ursacoptes mite and one dead sarcoptes mite — the infectious agent associated with mange. As a result, the patient was treated with ivermectin. Due to her dehydration and poor body condition, she was also treated with subcutaneous fluids and vitamin B.

“The patient recovered from anesthesia without event and is currently being housed in a zinger in isolation. She was offered a meal tonight and ate readily. We will plan to move her to Large Mammal Isolation in the coming days to give her more space and to further evaluate her ability to ambulate.”

On January 26, the bear was moved to one side of the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure; Dr. Karra said the bear is moving around well and is climbing normally. The team will continue to monitor and feed the bear in the coming weeks.

Your donation will help provide specialized care to this Black Bear yearling — and dozens of other bears that the Center will treat this year. Please help!

Patient Updates

Black Bear yearling #19-0057 [Double Green Tags] has been doing well during the past two weeks. She’s been eating well, and on February 25, the rehabilitation team decided to set a trap for the bear to move her to the Black Bear Complex. Wildlife rehabilitator Brie was able to confirm that the bear gained enough weight to move – Double Green weighed in at 13.7 kg.

The yearling was placed in the transition yard of yard #1 in the Black Bear Complex; the bear will stay in this area for a couple of days while she gets to meet her new “roommates” through the fence.

On Friday, February 8, Dr. Karra anesthetized Black Bear yearling #19-0057 for a follow-up examination. Dr. Karra gave a full report of the exam:

“The bear weighed 8.6 kg today (an increase of 2.2 kg since admission). She is still thin, but in better body condition than on admission. Her physical exam was within normal limits, with the exception of a small old healing abrasion on one of her paw pads. A skin scraping was performed, which revealed one dead ursacroptes mite. No sarcoptes mites were identified.

“The bear was ear tagged during this procedure with a green tag in each ear (which is the same as a bear in yard #3 with the 11 bears, but if/when this bear moves to Complex she will be housed with the four yearlings in yard #1, thus there will be no overlap). She was re-treated with ivermectin to ensure we have fully resolved the mange infection prior to her being introduced to other bears. She recovered uneventfully from anesthesia.

“The plan for this patient is to continue to monitor her in Large Mammal Isolation until she is large enough to be considered a candidate to move to bear yards (>10 kg).”


Black Bear yearling #19-0057 has been doing well since she was moved to the outdoor Large Mammal Isolation enclosure; she’s eating well and is actively moving around and climbing. On Friday, February 8, the bear will be sedated for a follow-up skin scraping to check for mange mites. She’ll also be weighed, which will give the rehab and vet staff a better idea of when she might be able to move to the complex (when mange-free).