Tongue Trauma From Injury Causes Trouble For Virginia Opossum

Virginia opossum with injury to faceThe following story was shared with us by Carolina Wildlife Conservation Center in North Carolina.

Mr. Waffles, a sub-adult Virginia opossum, was hit by a car. During his intake examination, we observed most of his wounds were inflicted upon his head. He was having difficulty breathing, with blood draining from his nose and mouth. It also sounded as if his airway was blocked.

While looking inside his mouth, we noticed the tongue was not positioned properly. After removing the large blood clots, it was obvious his tongue was severely severed in the back and was indeed positioned incorrectly and swollen. The blood was suctioned from his nasal cavity and throat as best as possible, which allowed him to breathe easier. He immediately received pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection.

Thankfully, we have a veterinarian who is willing to assist our wildlife. She was able to accommodate Mr. Waffles the following day for surgery. Mr. Waffles had to be sedated for his tongue to be sutured back to the appropriate position. He received three layers of sutures to repair his tongue. We were hopeful the tongue would heal properly. The tongue does heal quickly if there is enough connective tissue and blood flow.

In the meantime, Mr. Waffles had to be fed a soft diet. Initially, he was fed EmerAid Intensive Care Omnivore solely, multiple times a day. The opossums seem to like the smell and texture, which is easy to lap when made like a yogurt consistency. After time, Mr. Waffles’ diet included moistened cat food mixed in the Omnivore. Eventually, we added diced fruits and vegetables to the moistened cat food and Omnivore. He never missed a spot of Omnivore in his bowl.

After much pacing, trying to escape, and a healthy recovery, Mr. Waffles was released back into the wild where we hope he never encounters another vehicle.