Who is up there in the tree?? RINGO! (see post 11/18/2010) Despite her injuries and imperfect walk, Ringo was determined to be free. Despite the lingering cold and snow, she knew that spring was coming and cried and cried until I agreed that she could go. She gets around "in her own way". Good luck Ringo! You know where to come back to (again!) if you get into trouble. Look out for cars this time 'round! :)
Ringo at 3 months in her hammock
Ringo the Raccoon was brought to Wild Things at about 4 weeks old. She was found all alone and joined a group of 4 other "singleton" orphans. She and her adopted brothers (including Zeppelin- see below) did really well and were released at about 4 months old. Ringo was such a funny little girl. She has really forward facing, slightly bent forward ears and LOVED playing with toys and with her brothers. he especially loved chasing balls around her enclosure. Oh, and she loved her hammock!
Ringo playing with a toy ball
Flash forward 3 months...
...at sundown I was out int he woods putting out food for the various young animals who have been released, and sitting right next to a food bowl was Ringo. I hadn't seen her for months. I was clear that something was wrong. She didn't seem to be using her rear legs that well.
I took off my coat and gathered her up, to many growls and snarls of protest, and carried her back to the exam room. Ringo had a rabies vaccination before I let her go, so although it is always important to be careful handling an animal from the wild, it was good to know that she was protected from rabies and that I was not at risk from any possible exposure. She was in such great raccoon winter shape, i.e., very chubby, that it was hard to palpate the bony details, but in an initial exam it was clear that she had several fractures to the rear legs and the joints were swollen. She also had some evidence of open wounds that had healed. I started her on pain killers and anti-inflammatory NSAID medication.
I also spent some time giving her grapes and toys and before long she was back to being her super sweet little self. No growling any more.
Within a few days swelling had started to go down and she started kind of using her right rear leg. Wild Things' AWESOME Rabies Vector Species vet, Brian Collins, was able to get Ringo in for Xrays a few days later, and this is what we found (I put together about 5 different Xrays to show the whole area, hope it isn't too confusing!):
Dog Xray of almost perfect rear legs
Wow! Poor little Ringo!
To the right I've included a picture of a near perfect dog rear legs (though there is a displaced kneecap on the dog's left leg) for comparison.
One of the most amazing things is that the bones had been healing for what appears to be 4-6 weeks. So this little amazing girl was getting along in the woods for weeks with multiple rear leg fractures. What a superstar! I feel like such a wimp in comparison! Below is a close up of the distal part of the legs.
Her prognosis? Hard to tell. She is getting along better everyday. I will keep her on anti-inflammatories while the bone callouses continue to heal. I am also doing gentle physical therapy with her to keep whatever range of motion we can salvage in her damaged joints. Her busted knee is already unwilling to straighten, but we'll see what happens! She also has some broken teeth.
These kinds of injuries are consistent with being hit by a car.
Ringo! 8-10 weeks
Let's all send Ringo great healing vibes!! Also, while we're on the subject of raccoons, I wanted to offer a little food for thought...
...When people hear "raccoon" they immediately thing RABIES!!! However, it is estimated that 4% or less actually have rabies in the wild. Thousands of non-rabid raccoons are put down every year because people run so scared of rabies. Well, I just got a message today from a colleague who has been rehabilitating wildlife for about 30 years, many of those with as many as 40 raccoons a year, and this week was the first time she was exposed to rabies.... from one of her COWS!! She is getting all of her shots tomorrow.
Oh! Who do you think made these little footprints on my back porch?! An opossum! And the one on the upper right may be a raccoon. Perhaps its The Bandit or her baby Raindrop (these are characters that I have yet to introduce)! What is really remarkable about finding these prints is that they appeared the day after I trapped the last feral cat that has been in the woods around my house. I found a place that works on rehabilitating feral cats, so I hope that they are being well looked after...I felt a bit badly trapping them, but it is so amazing that the very next day an opossum appeared- I saw him out at night, but didn't manage to get a photo- and suddenly there are several raccoon and opossum tracks. These species have been kept away all this time that the cats have been here. I had no idea that the cats were influencing the wildlife so much around my house. That is one of the reasons snow is so cool- because you can see just who is visiting!
And here is a photo of Little Miss Pileated Woodpecker at the la-de-da suet feeder. note the little Dark Eyed Junco at the feeder to the left, this gives you an idea of her size. Btw, I love juncos so much! They are always the first ones out when it snows. That makes me kinda think that they are like me! :)
Test Question: There are 2 woodpeckers in this picture. Can you find them and what species are they??
And here is a picture of the little deer who seems to spend a large part of his time at my house now-a-days. Sometimes he just looks out into the woods and I wonder what he is thinking about. I wonder where the other young deer is that he used to be with. He seems lonely somehow, where is the rest of his herd? Surely at this age even males are with a herd?