Black Bear cub #22-1376

Admission Date: 
May 29, 2022
Location of Rescue: 
Nelson County, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Leg fracture
Prognosis: 
Guarded
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

On Sunday, May 29, an injured male Black Bear cub was admitted to the Wildlife Center from Nelson County after it has been spotted in the road for two days.  The Center's veterinary team examined the small cub and found that he had a humeral fracture of his right front leg. Blood work revealed that the bear was also slightly anemic, likely due to blood loss due to the traumatic injury. No other injuries were found.

Dr. Emily, one of the Center's veterinary interns, placed a splint on the bear cub's broken leg, and treated him with fluids, anti-inflammatory medication, and pain medication. The bear weighed 2.81 kg.  The cub was placed in a Zinger crate and was moved to the vestibule of the Center's Large Mammal Isolation enclosure. While the little bear is much too debilitated to directly interact with the three other cubs at the Center, the staff thought that seeing and hearing the other cubs would be beneficial for this young cub. He was able to briefly meet one of the other cubs while his enclosure after feeding while his enclosure was cleaned.

Dr. Karra, the Center's veterinary director, reached out to the Virginia Veterinary Specialists (VVS) in Charlottesville to see if an orthopedic surgeon would be able to assist with this fracture repair. Given the nature of the fracture and the bear's young age and rapidly growing bones, the bear cub will greatly benefit from a specialist in fracture repair technique and equipment. Fortunately, the orthopedic surgeon at VVS happily agreed to help with the surgery and will donate his time on his day off to repair the fracture on Thursday, June 2. VVS will only charge the Center for materials used. 

Until the scheduled surgery, the bear cub is eating specialized bear formula three times a day from a bottle and mush bowl. 

Your donation will help provide veterinary medical care to this injured Black Bear cub ... and more than 3,800 other patients that the Wildlife Center will help this year. 

Updates

June 30, 2022

On June 30, the veterinary team sedated Black Bear cub #22-1376 for another set of radiographs to evaluate the cub’s healing leg fracture. Dr. Karra noted that the incision site was healing very well, and the bear’s range of motion was excellent. Radiographs showed a completely healed fracture, with no movement or abnormalities associated with the metal plate. Dr. Karra sent the images to Dr. Stiffler, who was also pleased with the status of the bear’s injury. While the bear was under anesthesia, the staff placed a white ear tag in each ear.

 

 

The bear will be moved into the connecting chute of the Large Mammal enclosure (measuring about 4' x 8’), as soon as the area can be cleaned and organized. The bear will be in the chute for about a week, and if all goes well, he’ll be given full access to one side of the Large Mammal enclosure with other cubs.

June 17, 2022

On June 16, the veterinary team sedated Black Bear cub #22-1376 to recheck the bear’s humeral fracture.  The bear has reportedly been using his leg well in his confined space. Dr. Karra reported that, on examination, the cub's leg felt very stable and his range of motion was excellent. Dr. Karra cleaned the incision site well and applied a liquid bandage spray to offer some additional protection.

She sent radiographs to Dr. Stiffler, the surgeon who performed the fracture repair. Dr. Stiffler was very happy with the images – he noted that there were signs of healing, the hardware in the bear’s leg was unchanged, and the growing bones of the bear’s leg looked normal. The bear will continue to be cage-rested in a Zinger crate for the next two weeks, and additional radiographs will be taken at the end of the month.

 

June 9, 2022

In the week following his surgery, Black Bear cub #22-1376 has been recovering well in his Zinger crate, which is located in the vestibule of the Center’s Large Mammal enclosure. The veterinary team is keeping the bear mildly sedated during the initial period of his most strict cage rest. The cub has been eating well and gaining weight.

June 2, 2022

Dr. Karra reports that the surgery for Black Bear cub #22-1376 went well! Dr. Karra and LVT Jess Ransier left the Center at about 7:30 am on the morning of June 2 with the bear. The staff at VVS had Dr. Karra and Jess present the bear’s case at the hospital’s daily rounds prior to surgery. Board-certified surgeon Dr. Kevin Stiffler and the VVS team were able to successfully repair the bear’s fracture during the surgery, which lasted a couple of hours. The bear recovered well before his trip back to the Wildlife Center.

 

 

Dr. Stiffler and team has helped Wildlife Center patients in the past -- in 2012, he performed a complicated fracture repair on a bobcat, and in 2013, he performed a fracture repair on another Black Bear cub!

The bear will be cage-rested in a Zinger crate for now. In about two weeks, the Center staff will take radiographs to check on the healing progress of the bone.

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