Last week a small team of Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) staff and volunteers ventured to the WCC’s endangered species facility to capture Mexican gray wolf M740 for quick health examination. The 10-year-old male had been looking a bit thin for a few weeks so we wanted to get a closer look and some blood and fecal samples. M740 dodged our capture attempts for over an hour but we were finally able to collect what we needed and let the elusive lobo return to business as usual. A few days later we received his blood work and everything looked perfectly normal. While this data ruled out a number of possible causes, some ailments, like cancer, are not detected in blood analysis. We needed another look.
We can only imagine what M740 was thinking when our team returned to his territory early Friday morning. With the exception of veterinary visits, our lobos live peacefully in a natural environment where they can reside with minimal human contact to help maintain their timidity and best prepare them for a future in the wilds of Arizona. Our intrusions are never well received. The mission for our return visit was to once again capture M740, transfer him to a crate, and move him to a dry space to take some digital x-rays. His capture went smoothly, M740 quickly retreated to a capture box to avoid interaction with our fortified team, and we successfully transported him out of the rain into shelter.
Although the WCC aims to have a state of the art veterinary facility someday in the future, we currently depend on the generosity of our amazing pack of veterinarians who not only volunteer their time, but also their tools, to ensure that the WCC’s 25 wolves receive the best care. Dr Charlie Duffy VMD of Norwalk Veterinary Hospital and Miller & Associates‘ Equine Doctor, Elizabeth Kilgallon DVM, were on board to help us diagnose the cause of M740′s weight loss. Dr Duffy has been been the WCC’s lead veterinarian for almost a decade, but most practices aren’t equipped with portable Elkin digital x-ray machines. Thankfully, the WCC is situated within an equestrian community and it’s beneficial for equine veterinarians to be able to bring the tools of their practices to their clients. As Dr Kilgallon began taking x-rays of M740, she mentioned that she’s not accustomed to filming and analyzing wolves! Together, the two generous doctors, WCC curator Rebecca Bose, and the rest of our team kept the frightened lobo comfortable while confirming that his insides looked perfectly healthy! At morning’s end, we returned M740 to his familiar turf. We’ll keep an eye on his weight in the coming weeks but are feeling hopeful that he’ll have his figure back in time for breeding season. Big howls of gratitude to Dr Kilgallon DVM and Dr Duffy VMD for providing M740 with paramount care!