Skip to main content

Injured Bobcat Treated at Cornell


bobcatElusive and stealthy, bobcats are nocturnal predators, so daytime sightings are infrequent, according to Dr. Noha Abou-Madi, lecturer in wildlife and exotic animal medicine. When they do show themselves, she added, it is most definitely a treat -- as these creatures are powerful and agile athletes. Doctors at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine were recently given the chance to restore a bobcat's ability to walk, let alone run, when an area wildlife rehabilitator brought an injured bobcat to the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center.

After being hit by a vehicle in the Albany area, the bobcat was brought to the Center and then transported to the Cornell University Hospital for Animals where he presented with a fractured pelvis and a broken femur. With financial support from the Feline Health Center, the CUHA, and the Janet L. Wildlife Health Center, the cat underwent orthopedic surgery on June 19. During the three-hour operation, surgeons Dr. Stuart Bliss and Dr. Heather Knapp-Hoch removed the head and neck of the femur, and stabilized the fractured portion of the pelvis with application of a steel plate with seven screws.

"Not only was the cat in pain, but his ability to survive as a functioning, highly athletic, predatory animal depends on a successful surgical outcome," said Dr. Heather Knapp-Hoch, a resident with the small animal surgery unit at the CUHA. "Removing the fractured head of the femur will prevent the development of painful and debilitating arthritis of the hip, and stabilization of the pelvis with the steel plate is intended to accelerate the cat's recovery and enhance his long term mobility. This was an excellent opportunity to focus on finding the best surgical method to preserve the animal's ability to run and jump, while at the same time minimizing the chance of long term complications; indeed, his ability to live in the wild will depend upon both."

The bobcat is currently recovering at the New York Wildlife Rescue Center in Middleburgh, N.Y. The surgeons expect that his recovery time will be between six and eight weeks. To monitor the bobcat's recovery, please visit http://www.nywildliferescue.blogspot.com/.