Virginia Opossum #22-3694

Admission Date: 
December 28, 2022
Release Date: 
February 18, 2023
Location of Rescue: 
Nelson County
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Burn injuries
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On December 28, a resident in Wintergreen Resort, Virginia was startled by commotion inside their grill after turning it on. They immediately turned the grill off and opened it up to look inside. To their surprise, an adult opossum was hiding under the grate! The opossum had been using the grill for shelter and was injured when it started to heat up. After contacting Center staff, the citizen contained the opossum inside the grill and brought the entire grill to the Center, where staff safely removed the opossum.


On admission, the opossum was active, feisty, and had singed fur covering its body. Veterinary intern Dr. Olivia examined the opossum and found it had minor burns on both of its ears, but luckily no other injuries. The opossum was also very thin, possibly because it was having a difficult time coping with the cold weather. Dr. Olivia administered fluids and started the opossum on a course of pain medication and antibiotics. She then placed the opossum inside the Center's indoor holding area to rest. 

So far, the opossum has been active and eating well, though it has developed slight necrosis on one of its ears and minor ulceration on the tip of its tail. The veterinary team will continue to treat the opossum's injuries and hope to acclimate it to being outdoors soon. If the opossum is able to gain weight and recover from its burns, its prognosis for release is good.

Your donation will help provide veterinary medical care to this injured opossum ... and to more than 3,700 patients that the Wildlife Center will admit this year. Thank you! 


February 18, 2023

During the past month, the veterinary team continued to clean opossum #22-3694's wounds with antiseptics and monitor its body condition. By mid-February, the opossum's wounds had completely healed and its weight — almost double what is was on admission — was suitable for life in the wild. A final exam by vet staff on February 15 cleared the opossum for release. 

On February 17, the opossum's rescuers picked up the opossum from the Center and released it near its rescue location in Nelson County. 

January 25, 2023

During the past month, Virginia Opossum #22-3694 has continued to do well. By January 7, the opossum's wounds had healed well enough to move to a crate in Metals, an outdoor holding area. The vet team has been applying a topical antibiotic on the opossum's tail to prevent infection and note that the wounds are nearly healed. The opossum has also been eating well and has gained 0.68kg (about 1.5 pounds) since being admitted. Vet staff will continue to provide treatment and closely monitor the opossum's condition. 

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