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Working in the veterinary field means that each day is different.

Each animal has its own unique personality, temperament, and medical needs, something that keeps our days lively and the work days (and nights) zoom by.
Still, it is always exciting when we have the opportunity to treat animals we don’t often see. Case in point, on Friday, Idaho Black Bear Rehab (IBBR), a local nonprofit organization which does amazing things to help preserve black bears, requested some help for a black female bear.  In this picture at right, Dr. Jeff Brourman, DVM, ACVS, Chief of Staff, examines the bear’s injured wrist.Idaho Black Bear Rehab, Surgery at WestVet, Dr. Jeff Brourman

The bear had been tranquilized at IBBR before being transported to WestVet. She slept peacefully throughout the examination and treatment. IBBR, Bear surgery at WestVet

While she was at WestVet, doctors determined it was best to perform a cat scan to assess the injury and look for any additional ailments. Idaho Black Bear Rehab works with WestVet for bear surgeryHeidi, a certified Veterinary Technician, helped prepped the bear for the procedure. It became clear that although she was resting comfortably, the most difficult part would be gently fitting her into the machine for the scan.

This picture is one of our very favorites, furry paws visible under the pink blanket while the mama bear is attended to by technicians.IBBR and WestVet perform surgery on black bear



Dr. Andrew Gendler, DVM, DACVR, Veterinary Radiologist  pictured at right with Nicole, a certified Veterinary Technician, prepared the bear to undergo the cat scan.

Idaho Black Bear Rehab, Dr. Andrew Gendler, WestVet Veterinary Radiologist

The IBBR updated this story on their Facebook page. You will see some fantastic pictures here that include the mama bear’s injury and her little cub. 

In addition, they blogged about this treatment; here is part of the article posted on the IBBR facebook page that tells the story from their point of view, including the response of her cub during her time away: 

“Today she weighed 116-117 lbs so she has gained 36-37 lbs.  Nice job, mom!  Her wound had healed over in some areas, but not in another.  Initially the discussion was to operate & try to repair the wrist that was locked in place, but instead Dr. Drew decided to take her to WestVet. 

WestVet handled Sierra (IBBR’s police dog) during her worst health issues & Dr. Jeff Brourman has operated on two of our bears, including our special bear, Jaws.  They could have the leg X-rayed & really see what was going on with the injury.  Amy went with mom and I stayed with the cub.

As soon as they left he began whining an bawling and looking for mom.  At first he hid behind one of the piles of logs, but I kept talking to him and eventually he poked his head out and then came out.  I was quite surprised that he seemed to know mom had gone through the gate at the front of the enclosure as he kept sitting there whining.  I talked with him for about half an hour just telling him about life and what a good mom he had and what a fun cub he was and the facts of life and about his life as a free bear again.  Either I calmed him down or he got so bored he fell asleep, but all the whining and bawling stopped.”

Treatment is not yet complete for this bear. Her injury is still healing and there may be additional treatments or procedures needed. 

IBBR has been working with bears and bear cubs for more than 20 years. Their goal is to provide a second chance for these animals to return to the wild. They have been a wonderful attribute to our community and we feel honored to work along side them occasionaly to assist them in this great work. 


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