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Virginia Bear Update #6, Treatment

In this last post in the series of “Virginia Bear Updates” we’ll talk about her treatment.  Administering Virginia’s daily medicine takes a bit of time, but fortunately the team has figured out a routine that works well.

Multiple medications sit on metal table with nickel in center for scale.
Virginia’s morning meds. Currently, she gets these 20 items, along with two other powdered items. At the end of the day, she only gets two more white ones. (The tablets above the nickel).

Below is my bucket of grapes and dried fruit, along with syrup (and my stool to sit on while giving meds). If you want to see Kate preparing and giving Virginia meds, click here. (This is a link to a 30-minute Field-Trip-Friday video. At 4:50 in, you can watch Kate- and Virginia- take care of the treatment. The whole 30 minutes is worth the watch though!).

Bear sits near fence, stool and bucket with medications nearby
I’ve already pulled the bottle of syrup out of my bucket. Remaining in my bucket are two yogurt cups of the actual meds for Virginia- one with powdered meds, the other with the capsules and tablets. I have a bunch of grapes, and bags of apricots and dates to put the pills in. Fortunately, Virginia takes the fish oil capsules as is, so it’s just the 10 other items that we cover in fruit. Finally, a tongue depressor for stirring and a large spoon (but small enough to fit through the fence) to offer everything to Virginia.

All those meds are because of Virginia’s extensive osteoarthritis and spondylosis. She requires six different oral medicines and supplements. Her condition is not curative, so managing her symptoms is the best we can do.

Stack of medication and supplement bottles sit on top of metal table.

Virginia’s current treatment costs about $3,500 annually. Yes, over $3,500. I did the math as it is necessary to know costs as part of budgeting. Treatment meds used to be around $1,000 annually, but we switched from a medicine that cost $15 year (yes, fifteen) to one that is $2,500. The Galliprant seems to be helping, but it is very expensive (too bad we cannot put Galliprant on our Animal Care Amazon Wishlist).

Stack of yellow topped fish oil supplement bottles.
On the plus side, however, Fish Oil was on sale. Since Virginia takes A LOT of fish oil (over 12,000 mg daily), and the expiration date for these bottles was 2023, I went ahead and bought, well, enough to last us into 2022.

In addition to her daily meds, she also gets a laser treatment, and sometimes even acupuncture. Dr Harrison, can do acupuncture on Virginia, as well as other injections (chondroprotec can be injected to help as well).

Vet and staff member kneel near caged bear to offer laser treatment.
Dr. Harrison, left, using the laser while Janine keeps Virginia’s focus by feeding her.
Bear leans against log and looks at camera.
Virginia, a week or so before heading in for her CT Scan.

The team continues to watch Virginia’s behavior and habits, and we’ll continue to adjust her treatment plan for as long as we can maintain her welfare and wellness.

Bear looks into camera
Virginia, a week or so returning from her CT scan. Her shaved leg is the clue).