Black Bear #18-2983 [Red/White Tags]

Admission Date: 
October 28, 2018
Location of Rescue: 
Winchester, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Thin, wounds
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

On October 28, the Wildlife Center admitted another Black Bear cub. The young bear was found in Winchester and was seen in someone’s yard eating cat food; the bear appeared small and thin and had wounds on its head and leg. Animal control officers were able to trap the bear; a biologist with the Department of Game & Inland Fisheries picked up the female cub and transported her to the Wildlife Center.

Dr. Karra, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the cub when she arrived. The bear was quiet and alert and was defensive when restraint was attempted. Dr. Karra found that the small cub was infested with ticks and had a small wound on top of her head, as well as a wound on the inside of her left elbow. Both injuries were already healing, though the elbow wound appeared to be infected. The cub weighed just 5.4 kg and had a body condition score of 1.5./5.

Radiographs were within normal limits; blood work indicated that the cub was anemic, likely due to the tick infestation. Dr. Karra cleaned and bandaged the cub’s elbow injury and provided fluids and antibiotics. A skin scraping revealed three dead mange mites.  While this is a low burden of mites, the team will still treat the bear for mange since mites have a short reproduction cycle, and the presence of the dead mites means there could be mite eggs present. The bear was set up in a Zinger crate in the Center’s holding room and was given a small, soft meal.

This week, the cub will be moved to the Center’s Bear Pens, where the cub can rest and recover during her initial treatment for mange. In two weeks, the bear will be examined again and additional skin scrapings will be taken. Once the bear is mite-free and has gained more weight and fully recovered from her elbow wound, she will be moved to the Bear Complex with the other cubs.

Your donation will help provide care and support for this little Black Bear cub -- and for the 3,000 patients the Wildlife Center will treat this year. Thank you!


January 3, 2019

Black Bear cub #18-2983 [Red/White Tags] was darted and anesthetized on January 3 for a quick physical exam and weight check. The cub did not stay anesthetized for long, but the team was able to get a quick weight on the bear, confirming that the bear weighed 16 kg, which is large enough to move to the Black Bear Complex. The bear, along with roommate bear #18-3024 [Orange/Yellow Tags], was moved to yard #1.

The two bears on the other side of the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure – Pink/Orange Tags and Green/Orange Tags – were also moved to the Bear Complex today. Those bears are currently in the transition area of yard #1; the connecting door will likely be opened on January 4, giving the four bears access to all of yard #1.

December 4, 2018

On November 13, Black Bear cub #18-2983 [Red/White Tag] was anesthetized for an additional skin scraping to check for mange mites. The sedation and anesthesia were uneventful, and the staff were pleased to find no sign of mites on examination. The bear weighed 7.30 kg – about 2 kg more than her admission weight.

On November 15, a severe ice storm hit Waynesboro, causing power outages and multiple downed trees and limbs.  A large tree limb fell on the roof of the bear pens, damaging the roof. The following day, the staff moved Red/White Tag to one side of the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure.

Another cub with mange, Black Bear #18-3024 [Orange/Yellow Tag], was also displaced from the Bear Pens, but because that bear was still undergoing treatment, the staff kept the cubs separate for another five days. After Orange/Yellow was cleared on November 21, he joined Red/White in the Large Mammal enclosure. The rehabilitation staff report that the two bears have often been observed snuggling together.

November 2, 2018

On November 1, Dr. Karra carefully examined Black Bear cub #18-2983 prior to moving her outdoors. Dr. Karra gave us this report:

"Today we anesthetized her to recheck her wounds prior to moving her to bear pens. She was anesthetized routinely and was stable during the entire procedure. The wound on the inside of her left elbow has contracted a lot since admission, meaning that the healthy edges of skin are moving into the center of the wound bed. This means that it is healing very well! Only a small portion of granulation tissue in the center remains, and I expect this will heal quickly and without incident.  There was no exudate of evidence of infection. The previously wound on the top of her head is scabbed and appears quiet without any sign of infection or inflammation. No ticks were noted. We repeated skin scrapings and found two live and two dead ursacoptes mites (the mite associated with “bear mange”). The hair on her ventral abdomen was mildly thin, but there was no evidence of the marked alopecia or crusty skin that we typically see in our “mange bears”.  She was treated with ivermectin already this week in an effort to treat these mites. We also repeated an emergency panel today as she was anemic on presentation. Her PCV has increased to 30% (from an intake value of 24%). This means she is still considered anemic, but has improved and is almost within our reference range. She was also weighed at this check-up and weighed in at 6.4 kg – which is an entire kilo up from her intake exam on Sunday. She was ear tagged with patriotic [for me] ear tags -- a white tag in her right ear, and a red tag in her left ear, then was moved to Bear Pen 1. Recovery from anesthesia was quick and uneventful and she started exploring her new enclosure right away.

"The plan for this patient will to be to house her Bear Pens alone as she is considered contagious to the other bears due to her ursacoptes. In two weeks’ time, we will anesthetize her again for repeat blood work, to recheck her wound, and repeat skin scrapings. Just to touch on the more distant future since I’ve had this questions a few times today, she would not be considered a candidate to move to the Bear Yard with the other cubs until she is confirmed to be mite-free, and at least 10 kg in body weight. Likely she will move to Large Mammal Isolation once she is free of mites, and gain some more weight there prior to moving to the yard and being introduced to the other cubs."