North East Wildlife Animal Rehabilitation Coalition is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization. We are a group of licensed wildlife rehabilitators, and these are the tales of the injured and orphaned animals we care for until they are able to be released back into the wild.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A very quick update....

OK...what started as an apparent leg injury on Porcelain appears to actually be Mycoplasma Arthritis. Her sister Pebbles and Soldier also appear to have it as it is contagious.

In a nutshell:

Mycoplasma arthritis is characterized by painful swelling of the joints on the feet, wrists or arms, and reluctance to move due to pain. The infectious agent, which is a special type of bacteria, infects the bone at the growth plate, destroying the ability of the bone to elongate as the animal grows.It then blows out into the joint or soft tissues around the joint, where swelling is associated with accumulation of yellow pus in the tissues.Since the bone and joint have been severely damaged by the infection by the time that these signs are apparent, the prognosis for these animals is poor with respect to potential for release, even if treatment has some effect. This condition can be quite contagious within a rehabilitation facility.The source of the organism is not clear, but probably it is carried in the upper respiratory tract of coons.The organism enters the body through a wound, such as the gums at tooth eruption, or through respiratory tract.

So they are on Doxycycline now. Porcelain was the most affected and the use of her 2 affected legs is slowly improving. Pebbles was started when she showed signs and it appears to have stopped it's progression and Soldier, whose rear leg was slightly affected has pretty much regained normal use of his leg so I am hopeful for all of them....and will be keeping a close eye on the whole gang for any signs of lameness now! It's going to be a month of medication for all of them though! So far Lucky and Ducky remain just that, and no signs from Doc, Sis and Trooper who are all together with Porcelain and Pebbles. (knocking on wood now!)

Soldier is improving and no signs in Sammy, Brim and Spit, although Brim has refused to eat the last few meals so now I have to worry why! No other symptoms and no abnormal poop thus far, so I'm hoping for an upset tummy issue right now.

Rocco is doing great! I'll try to get pics of his stumpy little cuteness! He's like a big round tic with stumpy fat little legs sticking out.....very cute and was getting ready to join Soldier et al until strange illnesses started breaking out! So for now...he remains a loner for a little longer. Better safe than sorry!

The last little boy from the Animal Rescue League that 2 girls had brought home, and Springer, the girl found in the walls of a home, are both great and doing fine.

Then there is Spencer. A very cute 2 week old that literally dropped in on a tree house during a little slumber party out there! He's not injured.....I think he's lucky, the tree house broke his fall. After an unsuccessful attempt to re-unite him with a mom he has made his was safely here! Thanks to Julie and her daughter for taking such good care of him and getting him to me. He is doing great and eating like a little piggy!

And finally 3 more 4week-olds (the same size as Springer and the ARL boy). One was found orphaned this past weekend and the finder kept him until finally contacting Laurie. She got him settled and re hydrated for me until I could pick him up, and despite diarrhea from being fed regular milk for almost a week, he's none the worse for wear and is now enjoying a proper diet of raccoon formula! The other 2 are girls that fell from their tree....probably after mom disappeared & they got hungry enough to crawl out. A re-unite attempt was unsuccessful and Martha was kind enough to get them to me all the way from Gloucester yesterday. One girl is doing fine, the other has some head trauma from the fall. She had a bloody nose and mouth and swelling around her nose area. Hopefully that is the extent of the trauma. Her jaw is working fine and after being re hydrated and getting some Metacam for the pain and swelling, she is resting comfortably and the bleeding has stopped. It's a slow process getting her to take anything by mouth since her nose is all plugged up between the swelling and dried blood in there. As we all know when we have a cold, it's hard to breathe and eat at the same time! Right now it's just a "wait and see" game...with nothing apparently broken, it's a matter of controlling the swelling and letting her rest. I'm optimistic...she gets pretty annoyed when I wake her up to give her fluids! We'll see how much more eager she is once she starts getting full strength tastes a lot better!

I think that covers all the coons for now!


  1. Will the medication totally cure it, eradicating the bacteria?...:)JP

  2. D: thanks for the great update and all the info. Glad to hear little Rocco is doing so well and extra glad we brought him to you.
    Hope he gets to have some company soon -- is he still crying when you put him down?
    THANKS for all you do for these wonderful critters.
    Warm regards

  3. Well JP the Doxycylcine will kill the bacteria. The only issue is how much damage to the joints and how well they regain use of the legs. They all seem to be improving though and Porcelain is using her affected rear leg again! It's just the front legs on the 2 girls that are still lame, but not as bad as originally......I am very hopeful!

    Carol....Rocco would definitely be happier in with friends, but he's not so bad now after his belly is full. (it's all about the food with these guys! LOL) He goes about wrestling with his blankets and toys for now. :)

  4. I'm curious ... Pebbles and Porcelain are Stony's newborns. I remember you tried to reunit them but Stony didn't seem eager to take them back. Could it be that she knew something's wrong with her babies, that they are sick and are contagious? Could they be already infect with Mycoplasma Arthritis before you found them?

  5. No...she was too stressed from being moved away from her sisters. They did not have it at that time. It seems to enter via the respiratory tract through wounds such as at the gums when teeth are erupting....timeline fits right on track with that as well. They are all improving though luckily!