Woodchuck #19-0791

May 7, 2019
Rescue Location
Harrisonburg, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Chemical burns
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On May 7, an adult Woodchuck was found swimming in a containment pond at a sanitation product manufacturer in Harrisonburg. The water contained chemical runoff production and the woodchuck was unable to get out of the pond. A Harrisonburg Animal Control officer responded to the scene and was able to safely extract the woodchuck and brought him to the Wildlife Center.

The veterinary team examined the male groundhog as soon as he arrived; the woodchuck had chemical burns on all four of its paws and stomach and was extremely dull, likely in shock. Dr. Patrick, a weekly volunteer at the Wildlife Center, and several veterinary extern students bathed the woodchuck and cleaned him with a diluted Dawn dish soap bath. The groundhog was given pain medication, fluids, and medication to counteract any chemicals he may have ingested while in the contaminated water.

In the afternoon, the woodchuck was observed holding up his head in his crate in the Center’s holding room; the veterinary team suspected that the chemical burns would still progress due to the length of time spent in the water. The groundhog’s eyes appeared clearer in the afternoon.

The following morning, the woodchuck was quiet, depressed, and did not react much to handling for treatment. The veterinary team rinsed the woodchuck’s feet again and applied a thin layer of petroleum jelly. The prognosis for this patient is guarded; the team will need to carefully monitor the progress of injury or healing and will provide pain medication and fluids each day.

You can help support our work with native wildlife.

Your donation will help provide veterinary medical care to this injured wild animal and approximately 4,000 other patients that the Wildlife Center will help this year.


Patient Updates

Sadly, on the morning of May 9, Woodchuck #19-0791 was found deceased in his enclosure. The chemical burns likely impacted the animal internally as well as externally.