On November 24, a veterinarian was horseback riding in Powhatan County, Virginia and came across an injured juvenile bobcat. The cat was rescued and taken to permitted rehabilitators with the Area Rehabbers Klub before it was transferred to the Wildlife Center the following day.
Upon admission, Dr. Dana anesthetized the young male bobcat so that she could safely perform a physical exam and take a set of radiographs. She found that the cat’s right femur was badly fractured – in a tricky spot. The femur was in multiple fragments, and the fracture had occurred near the knee joint. Dr. Dana provide pain medication and settled the young bobcat into an enclosure in the Center’s holding room. The bobcat weighed in at 3.1 kg.
The following day, Dr. Dana consulted with Drs. Dave and Rich. Because the fracture was so close to the bobcat’s joint, the Wildlife Center vets were unsure about performing a surgical repair on the cat. Because this is not a “clean” break, and the fracture is so close to the joint, any hardware used to repair the fracture could prevent proper growth of the bone. This could later cause an asymmetry of the leg which would result in problems with walking, running, and hunting.
Dr. Dave consulted with several orthopedic specialists boarded with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons to get second [and third and fourth] opinions on a possible surgical repair for the bobcat. Dr. Jason Wheeler with the Virginia Veterinary Specialists in Charlottesville thought that repair was possible. Dr. Wheeler scheduled the surgery on Thursday, November 29. The Wildlife Center will pay for the bobcat’s surgery, though Dr. Wheeler’s practice will be giving the Center a discount. The surgery will roughly cost $2,000.
Dr. Stiffler will use a special cerclage wire and internal pins to secure the bone fragments in place. This hardware will remain in the bobcat’s leg – which should not be an issue for a non-game wild mammal species. One of the Center’s veterinarians will scrub in and assist with the surgery on Thursday. If all goes well, Dr. Dave anticipates that the bobcat will recover in a small enclosure at the Center for several weeks.