Although we do NOT treat wildlife at our facility, we did have an unusual patient brought to us by a colleague recently. A veterinarian friend was driving down University Avenue here in Waterloo last Friday morning when she saw a motorist hit a baby deer. As a concerned veterinarian, she pulled over to see if she could help the little fawn who seemed stunned by the collision. The mother was seen in the woods at the time of the accident but the fawn was disoriented and unable to stand and so could not be left beside the road. They were worried the fawn’s condition was very severe.
The fawn was in shock, had bleeding from its mouth and nose, and had several cuts and bruises. She gave my classmate a few bruises and scrapes as well – fawn hooves are sharp! With the help of some good samaritans in a Ford Escape, she was able to transport her safely to us at Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital.
It was already a busy day with several dogs and cats in hospital for surgeries, procedures, and grooming, so we kept the little fawn in our exam room where she made herself at home. We weighed her, checked her teeth to determine her age (10 days) and gave her some pain medication by injection. She was a very lucky girl, the bleeding was only a nosebleed and once she was no longer in shock she quickly improved, becoming less pale and more active.
It was amazing to see how still and calm she was with us. Fawns are known for being still and subdued when handled. People often mistake fawns quietly waiting for their mother for orphans, but this is a survival trait…not an indication that they enjoy being cuddled! When we picked her up she showed she was truly a wild animal, kicking and struggling, but would lie very still on our x-ray table and seemed to lean into us when we examined her.
We x-rayed her to check for fractures and internal injuries and shared the x-rays with our colleagues at Windrush Veterinary Hospital (a facility which does treat wildlife), who regularly care for injured fawns. Needless to say fawn x-rays are different from the cat and dog x-rays we usually interpret, for one thing they have four stomachs! The lines on her legs in the x-rays were growth plates that are normal in all growing animals. The Windrush veterinarians confirmed that the x-rays were normal and advised us on local rehabilitation centres just in case.
Later that afternoon, my husband David Ashby, the rescuing veterinarian, and I released the fawn into the woods. We took her quite a distance from the road and released her near where she was found. They checked back the next day and she was no longer there.
While it was exciting to have a wild visitor, we are not prepared or able to treat wildlife here at Carriage Crossing Animal Hospital. If you come across injured or orphaned wildlife, you can go to Ontario Wildlife Rescue online at www.ontariowildliferescue.ca and there you can find the right steps to take to evaluate the situation, and the right rescue organization or veterinary hospital for the animal you are concerned about.