Woodchuck #19-0791

Admission Date: 
May 7, 2019
Location of Rescue: 
Harrisonburg, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Chemical burns
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

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.

Your donation will help provide veterinary medical care to this injured wild animal, plus 3,000 animals that will be admitted to the Wildlife Center this year. 


May 10, 2019

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.