Beaver #15-1914

Species Name (EN): 
Species Name (LA): 
Admission Date: 
August 28, 2015
Release Date: 
April 24, 2016
Location of Rescue: 
Rockingham County
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Injured, Found in River
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On August 28, an officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries captured a juvenile male beaver who was reportedly injured near the North River Dam in Rockingham County. The beaver was transported to the Wildlife Center and was admitted as patient #15-1914.

Upon presentation, the beaver was exceptionally calm and showed possible signs of impaired vision. The beaver was in good body condition – weighing approximately 9 kg – but had lacerations on his back, abdomen, and tail, indicating that the animal suffered physical trauma.

Blood work was within normal limits. Radiographs were unremarkable but showed open growth plates, confirming that the beaver is a juvenile –the beaver is likely around one year old. Several external parasites were found in the beaver’s fur, including lice, fly eggs, and ticks.


The vet staff cleaned the wounds and sutured several of the lacerations to assist with healing. The beaver was sprayed with an anti-parasitic solution and was given an anti-parasitic drug. The vet staff also prescribed pain medication and a course of antibiotics to prevent infection from the wounds.

The staff will continue to monitor the beaver’s wounds for infection and necrosis, and will assess the animal for further signs of visual impairment. As of August 30, the vet staff believes the beaver can see based on his reactions to human presence while he is in a crate.

The beaver was reluctant to eat the first night, but rehabilitation intern Kendra reports that he is now readily eating his offered meals, which consist of rodent chow, fruits, vegetables, and tree branches and twigs with leaves – the beaver eats both the woody twig and the leaves.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to this animal …and to the 2,600 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals the Center will treat this year.


April 25, 2016

On April 24, Beaver #15-1914 was released back to the wild. Front-desk coordinator Kate and interim wildlife rehabilitator Kendra participated in the release. Kate said, “The release went very smoothly. The zinger transport crate was placed near the stream. The beaver quickly adjusted to squishy soil beneath his webby feet and figured out how to tumble down the short bank and into the water. He swam up and down stream for awhile under water, under the bridge and back, then ambled downstream into riparian bliss.”




Kendra said that the beaver release was probably one of her top three releases in her time at the Wildlife Center – then corrected herself and said it was probably the best release of all!

The release team celebrated with beaver cupcakes.

April 22, 2016

Throughout the winter and spring, the veterinary staff have been weighing Beaver #15-1914 about every two weeks. On April 15, Dr. Dana noted that the beaver had lost weight; while the beaver is eating, his appetite has been inconsistent during the past couple of months. Dr. Dana decided to do a complete work up on the beaver to ensure there were no issues prior to release.

The beaver was sedated while Dr. Dana and team performed a complete physical examination, drew blood for analysis, took radiographs, and performed an in-depth dental exam. Everything was within normal limits; the beaver is healthy and ready for release. Dr. Dana suspects that the weight loss and inconsistent appetite is a seasonal change as the beaver slims down after his winter weight gain.

With a clean bill of health, the staff began discussing a release location. Beaver releases can be challenging, given that they require good habitat, but can’t be released into another beaver’s active territory. A suitable habitat was found in Augusta County, and plans are being made for an April 24 release.

April 8, 2016

On April 7, we celebrated International Beaver Day -- although really, every day is Beaver Day at the Wildlife Center when we have a beaver patient.

Beaver #15-1914 is doing well in the Center's Large Mammal Isolation enclosure and is waiting for spring to fully arrive to ensure that food is plentiful prior to release.

In the meantime, the Beaver receives some natural food presents to keep him happy while he's with us!


March 15, 2016

During the past three months, the Center staff has continued to monitor Beaver #15-1914. Throughout December into March, the Beaver remained active and was frequently observed swimming in his pool or constructing a stick and hay lodge. He also continued to exhibit appropriate behavior toward humans during bi-monthly weigh sessions.

On March 3, Beaver #15-1914 weighed 11.7 kilograms and the staff will recheck the beaver’s weight later this week. Since the beaver has been doing well and the outside temperature has increased, it is likely the beaver will be released in mid-April.

December 17, 2015

During the past two months, Beaver #15-1914 has continued to do well outside in the Center’s Large Mammal Isolation enclosure. He is eating well, his wounds have healed, and the hair around the injury sites has grown back.

On December 17, the veterinary team weighed the beaver and noted that he is now 14 kg [31 LBS]. Two year-old beavers, like Beaver #15-1914, are typically between 11 to 13 kg at this time of year. The rehabilitation and veterinary teams will closely monitor the beaver’s weight during the following months and make adjustments to his meal as needed.



The rehabilitation team is still refilling the beaver’s water tub three times a day, and reports that Beaver #15-1914 continues to show the appropriate behaviors and fears toward humans.


October 19, 2015

Beaver #15-1914 is doing well outside in the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure. On Friday, October 16, the veterinary staff removed the sutures on the beaver’s back. Dr. Dana was pleased with how everything had finally healed. After an additional two days of keeping the injury site dry, the rehabilitation staff were able to fill up a large tub in the beaver’s enclosure on Sunday, October 18. This GoPro footage captures the beaver’s first visits to his new pool.

The rehabilitation staff are currently re-filling the beaver’s pool three times a day to keep the water clean. The rehabilitation staff have consulted with multiple beaver rehabilitation experts, who have long-term housing facilities for growing beavers. Many agree that a set-up with a somewhat smaller water tub that is changed frequently, rather than a larger tub that is cleaned less frequently, is better for beavers. The beaver receives food in the morning, and is eating a diet of rodent chow, fruits and veggies, and a lot of natural browse [branches, twigs, and bark].

October 12, 2015

During the past week, Beaver #15-1914’s wounds have continued to heal well. On Saturday, October 10, Dr. Dana declared that the beaver’s wounds no longer needed treatment, and the beaver was ready to move outside.

Rehabilitation intern Kendra and several rehab extern students have transformed one of the Center’s Large Mammal Isolation enclosures into a beaver habitat, complete with lots of tree limbs, a couple of dens, and several shallow water tubs. At this point, Dr. Dana doesn’t want the beaver to have access to deep water until the beaver's sutures are removed on October 15. As long as the wounds are completely healed after the sutures are removed, a larger water feature will be added to the beaver’s habitat.

After conferring with several other beaver rehabilitators throughout the United States, the staff decided that it would be best to overwinter Beaver #15-1914. At this time of year, beavers are preparing their winter lodges in the wild; a release at this time of year wouldn’t give this young beaver adequate time to find a territory and prepare for winter.

Kendra recorded the beaver’s move into his outdoor habitat. You can watch the beaver on the Center’s Critter Cam!

October 6, 2015

Beaver #15-1914 is doing well and his wounds are healing. The young beaver has gained nearly a kilogram since he was admitted in late August – the beaver recently weighed in at 9.8 kilograms, compared to 8.94 kilograms at admission.

On October 1, Dr. Helen performed surgical debridement of the beaver’s wounds on his abdomen, removing dead tissue to improve healing in the wounds. Bandages were applied to the wounds to protect the wounds from infection.

As of October 6, the veterinary staff report that the beaver’s wounds are progressing well and the wounds on his back are nearly completely healed.

The beaver has a very healthy appetite, and rehabilitation intern Kendra captured a video of the young beaver enjoying browse and twigs!

September 28, 2015

Beaver #15-1914 continues to heal well; he has remained bright, alert, and very feisty. On September 21, the veterinary staff noted the large wound on the beaver’s right side was fully closed and the other large lacerations on the beaver’s abdomen were nearly healed. Since the wounds are nearly healed, the beaver will now only need to be anesthetized every three days for treatment.


On September 26, Dr. Helen noted an area of firm swelling next to the healing wound on the beaver’s abdomen. The wound was lanced, but no purulent fluid was present during flushing. A bandage was applied and the beaver was placed on four more days of antibiotics to prevent any infection. It is unclear how Beaver #15-1914 acquired the new wound, but the veterinary team will continue to clean and change the beaver’s bandages every three days.


September 18, 2015

Beaver #15-1914’s wounds have been healing well during the past week. The beaver has been anesthetized every other day for treatment, which includes flushing of the wounds, treatment with medical honey, and re-bandaging. On September 17, Hospital Cam viewers were able to watch this procedure and were treated to some close-ups of the veterinary care. Drs. Helen and Dana were pleased with the healing progress.

The beaver is eating well and maintaining weight at 9.0 kg. 

September 11, 2015

Beaver #15-1914 has been eating well and gaining weight. The culture of the beaver’s wounds returned, and it appears that the bacteria are resistant to the antibiotics the vet staff had been using. A special type of antibiotic had to be ordered; the new course of antibiotics was started on September 10 and will last ten days.

Vet staff will continue to clean the beaver’s wounds daily.

September 4, 2015

During a visual exam of Beaver #15-1914 on September 1, the veterinary staff noticed that there was purulent material (pus) coming from the beaver’s wounds. The staff sedated the beaver and thoroughly cleaned his wounds.

The initial plan was to monitor the wounds and clean every few days as needed; due the change in the status of the wounds, the vet staff is now cleaning the beaver’s wounds daily, flushing out the purulent material with a solution of saline and betadine.

On September 2, the beaver presented with mild conjunctivitis in his right eye; the vet staff cleaned and lubricated his eye.

During wound cleaning on September 3, the staff noted that most of the wounds had closed up over night; however there was still purulent material in at least one of the deeper wounds. The veterinary staff decided to begin applying medicinal honey, which is used as an antibacterial and to assist with healing. The beaver’s wounds are bandaged after treatment. The beaver no longer has noticeable conjunctivitis in his right eye.

Staff will continue to monitor the wounds, change the honey bandages, and clean the wounds as needed. A culture from the beaver’s wounds was sent out to determine what antibiotics are best used to combat infection for this beaver.

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