Feb. 24, 2023

Vet med profs give injured bobcat a second chance at life

When Bobbi the bobcat got caught in a bear trap, our vets partnered with Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society members to fix the damage
UCVM vets help to give bobcat a second chance at life
From left: Jordan Greenfield (Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society), Rebecca Jackson (UCVM) and Nadine St. Peter (CWRS) with Bobbi post-surgery. Breanne Marois, Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society

In the lake community of Chaparral, a two-year-old female bobcat became trapped in a local bear trap. The bobcat, who weighed in at 7.78 kilograms, seemed to have been living well in and around the southeast Calgary community before she was caught in the trap. Community members had named her Bobbi.

It took two weeks for members of the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (CWRS) to capture her to see what they could do to help. 

To safely remove the trap from her paw, Dr. Jordan Greenfield of the CWRS first sedated Bobbi. He sutured and bandaged her paw, and also noted Bobbi had a fractured canine tooth.

On Jan. 27, Dr. Aylin Atilla, VMD, and Dr. Rebecca Jackson, DVM, of the University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) helped to re-assess the paw at the wildlife centre along with Greenfield. Unfortunately, given the extensive damage from the trap, the team had to amputate the distal digits on Bobbi’s left front paw. They also made a plan to address the broken tooth. 

“The tooth was fractured with complete exposure of the pulp canal,” says Jackson, who extracted the tooth on Feb. 16. “The sensitive nerves of the tooth live in the pulp canal and so this injury would be extremely painful.”

They believe the bobcat's tooth became damaged when she used her mouth in an effort to remove the bear trap from her paw.

While Jackson extracted the tooth, Atilla and Greenfield examined the healing paw wound. They determined it is healing properly but will need continued monitoring.

“This is why we came into this field,” says Atilla. She explains how rewarding it is to help such an underserved population of animals such as wildlife. 

Moving forward, Bobbi will continue to be monitored and cared for by the CWRS. In the next few weeks, she will be tested to see if she can capture live prey and survive in the wild on her own. Because bobcats use their front paws to capture their food, it's possible she will become a permanent resident at a large conservation park in a rural area of Alberta.

“Bobbi still has a road to recovery to walk, but I am confident we took a great step in helping her today with the removal of the fractured tooth,” says Greenfield. “Next comes the physical rehabilitation and testing of her hunting ability with her reconstructed paw.

"Regardless of her final release location, I am happy that the CWFS and our partners, like UCVM, can provide her with a pain-free experience.”

The Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society is a not-for-profit organization that relies on the financial support of caring individuals and businesses to operate. The cost of providing necessary surgery and rehabilitation for injured wildlife, like Bobbi, is paid for by the public. If you are interested in marking a difference, visit their website to donate