Grizzer – Resting Comfortably

Grizzer seems to be enjoying warm naps in the sun on top of the den in the pack holding area. We have had warm days and cold nights lately, and Grizzer has been observed panting to cool off since he still has his thick winter coat. He continues to be social with Luna as long as it doesn’t involve food, and seems to enjoy visits with wolf care staff.  As you may know, we have had mortalities of wolves between 13 and 15 years of age.  Although Grizzer appears very healthy, there are key things to monitor as he approaches 14 years of age.  The most important is kidney function, which can have some telling symptoms such as lethargy, weight loss, increased thirst, change in appetite or how an animal processes food (scats).  There are several great things about managing Grizzer.  First and foremost, he is on a hand-fed feeding regime with measured food amounts fed on a daily basis, so we know exactly what he eats.  Secondly, staff fill the waterers on a daily basis, so water consumption can be monitored, although we can’t tribute it all to Grizzer as he shares water with Luna.  Third, Grizzer has a behavioral pattern of trying to defecated on a high spot, so if there’s a scat on a stump, we are 99% certain it’s Grizzer.  As far as lethargy, that’s a bit more of a challenge, older animals like to sleep, especially in a nice cover hay bed in the sun, but a quick scan of surveillance cameras can judge the activity levels within a 24-hour period.  Grizzer’s behavior can best be described as crepuscular, which means, active at dawn and desk.