Virginia’s treatment plan

I’ve watched Virginia, our black bear that has been at the Museum since June 2005, grow from a 15 pound cub still on a bottle to a full-grown black bear. We noticed many months ago she had an intermittent yet recurring limp. It never stopped her from doing anything but it just wasn’t going away no matter what variety of treatments we provided.

Diagnosis has been a challenge, but we had a team from NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine out to get radiographs, do a blood draw, and general physical. We had multiple experts look at the radiographs and seem to have learned that Virginia, among other things, has quite the case of osteoarthritis.

Our plan of support for Virginia is multi-faceted, but one of the cooler things (I think), is her Laser Therapy. Dr. Harrison has had a great deal of experience working with and treating black bears and she uses the Laser often in treatment plans.

A few photos below of what goes into a round of Laser treatment for Virginia.

Dr. Harrison (middle) discusses treatment plan with her associate Leigh Duke (left) and Dr. Vanderford (right).


Dr Harrison and Leigh review the settings to be used and locations to laser


The process starts with getting Virginia on our squeeze cage. Katy is keeping Virginia busy eating while Dr. Harrison uses the laser on Virginia’s left hip.
A close up of the laser (and the peanut butter being used to help keep Virginia still). Currently, we are focusing on four areas for treatment and each area requires 3 minutes of laser contact.
Notice the safety glasses being worn by Dr. Harrison (left) and Keeper Janine on the right.



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