In 2018, the Wildlife Medical Clinic welcomed Delphine, a female Virginia opossum. She was initially brought to the Wildlife Medical Clinic after a well-intentioned member of the public attempted to rehabilitate her. Unfortunately, this led to Delphine becoming too habituated to humans for her reintroduction to the wild. Additionally, some abnormalities in Delphine’s gait were of concern. Upon further testing, and it was determined Delphine required a Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO) due to suspected past trauma to her hip. This surgical procedure removes the head (top portion) of the femur to relieve pain and increase patient mobility when severe disease or trauma has occurred previously. On the bright side, Delphine’s calm demeanor and overall good health meant she was a good candidate for the Wildlife Ambassador program! Her FHO surgery went well and, after a little bit of physical therapy, Delphine is now happily working with our other amazing ambassador animals!
Delphine is one of the first mammals to join our Wildlife Ambassador Program. Since her joining, Delphine has been working with numerous veterinary student volunteers to adjust to her new lifestyle. One of her trainers is Allison Wright, a second-year veterinary student. We sat down with Ally to ask her a few questions about Delphine.
Third year student and clinic manager Kara Hiebert answers questions about what she has gained from her years in the Wildlife Clinic
What initially sparked your interest in wildlife medicine?
I’m not sure if I can really pinpoint one thing that sparked my interest. As my parents can attest, I’ve loved animals for as long as I can remember. Anytime our cat brought in an unfortunate bird or rodent, I was adamant that we needed to rescue it and put it back out in the wild. When I was in kindergarten, I was actually bit by a mouse because I was trying to “save” it (not my smartest move). I was also super lucky to have a family that travelled quite a bit, and looking back we always seemed to find wildlife along the way, whether that be stopping to see the sea lions at Pier 39 in San Francisco or waking up at the crack of dawn and piling into a dingy to see wild dolphins. In undergrad, I got more of a taste for what it is like working directly with wildlife during my internships at the California Wildlife Center and the Animal Rescue Clinic at Mystic Aquarium. I loved everything about my experiences with those organizations, which really reinforced wildlife medicine as a major interest of mine. Continue reading
Student Blog by Aubrey Engel, VM 21
An Osprey presented to the Wildlife Medical Clinical after a concerned citizen spotted the bird floating face down in Clinton Lake. This good Samaritan waded out in the water to rescue the bird – an impressive feat considering Osprey are large raptors that are never considered friendly. This finder noticed that the bird was tethered by fishing line – the line wrapped around the body and a hook punctured the right leg. Once removed from the water, the bird was immediately brought to our clinic, where student volunteers quickly worked to assess and stabilize her.