Luna Medical Update

Thank you all for the concern and support you have given Luna during this medical situation.  Medical issues are always more challenging when there are so many variables to manage.  When working with captive wolves, we have the issue of immobilization and transport to the vet clinic, ambient temperatures and the influence on thermal regulatory ability after drugging, keeping a wound clean in an outdoor environment, pack social interactions during recovery and the risk of immune challenges caused by the actual medical issue we are treating.  The professionals at the Vet Clinic manage the medical, but it’s the job of the wolf care staff to manage the post-operative care and the social pack dynamics.  It’s been our experience that separation from the pack can lead to some posturing and rank issues upon a wolf’s return to the social structure.  Fortunately for Luna, Aidan and Grizzer have been very respectful of her and have shown no focus on her sutures.   In the posted photo, the suture site is visible on the left side of her neck. While Luna is showing some scratching at the incision site, she appears to be scratching the hair above the site, and not at the suture level.  Since a protective cone is not an option, we closely monitor her actions and offer distractions.  We have arranged the schedule to have more wolf care staff and volunteers to be in the wolf lab, including full-day coverage last weekend and this upcoming weekend.      She also had her nails trimmed at the vet clinic to reduce a toenail catching a stitch.  This is a long process of healing; It is standard protocol for dissolvable sutures to be used, eliminating a second immobilization to remove sutures.  We expect the sutures to completely dissolve in 3-5 weeks.  The results of the biopsy came back today and we are happy to report that it is not a malignant tumor.  Unfortunately, they don’t know for sure what it is and are doing more test on it to see if they can figure it out.  There are two possibilities, one is that it was an abscess that had gone bad despite the antibiotics, the second is that it may have been from a hematoma.  Since it was on her scruff, maybe she was bitten (scruff biting is very common, especially this time of the year and with food possession issues) but the bite wasn’t enough to break the skin and it bled under the skin.  If it opened from scratching, bacteria may have gotten in there and grew from there.  The suture site remains very clean and shows no redness.  She completes her antibiotics today, one week post-surgery.   Luna also has a long history of Vitamin D, Ionized calcium issues and her last blood work in 2018 showed some higher than normal Lymes titers which indicated that she may have been exposed to Lymes disease.  All of these tests require some time, but I hope to be able to share some results during her birthday webinar.  The true test of Luna’s recovery is her willingness to take her morning breakfast and her social interactions with Aidan. We captured some footage of her playbowing to Aidan on the surveillance cameras on Sunday and again tonight and have invited some long-time friends to come and visit (thanks Don).  If you want to get a live view of Luna’s activity, follow this link to register for Luna’s Birthday Webinar on  March 25th at 5 pm.