On September 30, a juvenile female bobcat was hit by a vehicle while crossing Route 33 in Rockingham County, Virginia. The bobcat was captured and transported to the Wildlife Center, where Dr. Monica, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, examined the bobcat.
The juvenile cat was very quiet and dull, and Dr. Monica found that the bobcat’s right femur was fractured. Blood work confirmed that the bobcat was anemic; she also had a heavy parasite load. Radiographs indicated that the closed fracture was complete and spiral – meaning that the bone had rotated. Spiral fractures often occur when the body is in motion with one limb planted on the ground. Dr. Monica gave the bobcat fluids, pain medication, antimicrobials, and anti-parasitics. She carefully bandaged the young bobcat’s fractured leg and placed her in an oxygen cage for the night.
The following day, the bobcat was still very dull and depressed; the staff realized that the cat was not able to see, which can happen in severe head trauma cases when the brain swells. Supportive care was offered to the bobcat, and an IV catheter was placed to better deliver a continuous supply of fluids. Surgery for the fractured leg was planned for October 4. While a blind bobcat can never be released, the staff decided to move forward with the surgery to repair the injured leg, while giving the bobcat enough time to regain her sight.
On October 4, Dr. Ernesto, the Center’s hospital director, was successfully able to pin the fractured femur; he also placed two cerclage wires in the bobcat’s leg to keep the bone in the correct position as it heals. The wires will stay in the bobcat’s leg, but the intramedullary [IM] pin will be removed after the leg heals.
Three days after surgery, the bobcat was brighter; the veterinary team noted that the bobcat even growled when approached for daily treatments, though she still appeared to be avisual. Fortunately, on October 10, Dr. Ernesto was pleasantly surprised to find that the bobcat could see – she could easily track his movements when he caught her for morning treatments.
Repeat radiographs were taken on October 13; results revealed that the IM pin slipped out of one portion of the bobcat’s fractured bone. Dr. Ernesto will take the bobcat to surgery again this week to repair the fracture again.