‘Emaciated and suffering burns’: Local wildlife rescue receives first burn victim of the year

Local News

The Latest – Tuesday, July 27

10:20 p.m.

Tuesday morning, Gold Country Wildlife Rescue shared the following update:

We have an update on the burned bobcat in our care, an adult male that came from the Lava Fire near Weed, California (not the Dixie Fire, as previously stated).  We are thankful that Shasta Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation transferred the bobcat into the care of the Wildlife Disaster Network under the direction of Dr. Jamie Peyton, DVM.  Dr. Peyton is leading the effort to treat and care for the bobcat at Gold Country Wildlife Rescue’s Wildlife Intake Center, located in Auburn, California.  

Once we sedated him and gave him a thorough examination, he was found to be more critically injured than first thought.  He suffers from infected second, third, and fourth-degree burns to his feet and legs.  He also has an abscess in his groin, possibly from a puncture wound while escaping the flames.  Additionally, his body condition is very poor. He is emaciated, weighing only about 50% of his normal 30-35# weight and blood work shows he is anemic.  Despite his grave condition, we are optimistic about his prognosis, but it will take lots of care and support to get him back to normal so he can return to his life in the wild.  

A big thank you to Animal Medical Center in Auburn for always working with us to process blood work quickly, even when we bring the samples to them as they are closing. When we all work together, we can truly help these animals that have suffered so much.

Brenda Baily, Gold County Wildlife Rescue Development Director

Original story below:

AUBURN, Calif (KTXL) — As wildfires continue to threaten communities across the west, they’re also destroying habitats, making animals run from their homes and sometimes through flames.

A bobcat was found in Weed, California trying to escape the Lava Fire.

When rescuers found him, he had third-degree burns to his paws and was severely underweight.

“You can see here that he has burned all the bottoms of his pads,” explained Dr. Jamie Peyton of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

The painful burns made it difficult for the bobcat to hunt for food.

“He’s very thin. He’s what we would call emaciated,” Peyton said.

Peyton said rescuers are working quickly to get the animal back on its feet, first by cleaning the wounds with tilapia skin.

“Like people, animals suffer too and our wildlife is really important to us, and we need to take action like we’re doing to try and help them,” Peyton said.

After a few weeks of healing, the bobcat can be released back into the wild.

“If they can recover after enduring these horrible injuries, they really are survivors,” Peyton said.

Rescuers say the bobcat likely won’t be the last animal in need of treatment at the Gold Country Wildlife Rescue.

“This year has been an extraordinary year in the number of animals we’re getting. We’re already over 4,000 animals,” Gregg Grimm of Gold Country Wildfire Rescue.

Grimm said the total is already 300 more than they took in all of 2020 and rescuers believe California’s drought combined with large wildfires are to blame. 

“We feel very passionate about helping every single one of these animals because it’s our responsibility. A lot of these fires are not natural anymore. The majority are from us and because of that, we have a responsibility to these animals to take care of them,” Peyton explained.

The organization is accepting donations to help fund its work.

Correction: This story originally said the bobcat had been burned as a result of the Dixie Fire, when it was in fact burned by the Lava Fire. It has been updated to reflect those changes.

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