A female coyote found in Cool, CA, was taken to Gold Country Wildlife Rescue after getting her head stuck in a plastic jar. The coyote was brought in to the rescue’s Wildlife Intake Center on February 5, 2018, after having been without food and with limited water for at least 10 days. She was severely emaciated and dehydrated, arriving with a weight of 15 lbs.
Gold Country Wildlife Rescue enlisted the guidance of Dr. Greg Frankfurter, a wildlife veterinarian from Davis, CA. He outlined a treatment plan that the staff carefully followed to avoid “refeeding syndrome” – a syndrome consisting of metabolic disturbances that occur as a result of reinstitution of nutrition to patients who are starved, severely malnourished, or metabolically stressed due to severe illness. Such patients cannot be allowed access to food and water, except in a very controlled fashion, or it could kill them. If the coyote were someone’s pet dog, she would have been put into ICU on IV fluids/nutrition and had her electrolytes checked every four hours. Obviously, this was not possible with a wild animal, so we checked her blood daily, and Dr. Greg adjusted her medications, fluids, and food accordingly. She tested positive for anaplasmosis, a tick-borne disease, and began treatment for that.
She was getting daily injections of Vitamin B and famotidine (Pepcid), as well as being treated for fleas/ticks, and she received an iron injection plus antibiotics. For the first few days, she could only have tiny amounts of an Emeraid Intensive Care Carnivore “smoothie” several times a day. Gradually, the rehabilitators added skinned, tailless mice (for ease of digestion). She was then transitioned to a more natural diet and oral medications. She was with the rehabilitation center for a few more weeks as she completed her treatments and regained the weight she had lost. As soon as she was stable, she was moved to an outdoor enclosure where she enjoyed the sunshine and lazing around getting fat prior to release! When Gold Country Wildlife Rescue was able to release her, she weighed 21 pounds, which was a 40% increase!
Gold Country Wildlife Rescue expresses its sincere appreciation to Dr. Frankfurter for donating his services and Animal Medical Center in Auburn, CA, for providing lab work and medications at greatly discounted rates. Thank you as well to Kent Jackson, DVM, and Mira Sanchez, DVM, for their help with this case.
Gold Country Wildlife Rescue would like to thank all the volunteers and staff who have gone the extra mile for this formerly unlucky coyote. For 10 days straight, people drove countless hours and hiked all over the Auburn Lake Trails and the surrounding area to try to locate the coyote with her head stuck in a plastic jar. Staff put in extra time and effort to provide the intensive care required during the first critical days after her capture. Everyone can feel good about the enormous effort that has been put into ending her suffering and helping her on her way to being a healthy coyote in the wild!