Just last week, Marley the grizzly bear was arriving at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital to be treated for her broken elbows. After Marley’s story got around, it was instantly reported on by big news networks like CNN and CBS — she was a star, but the bigger celebrities were the doctors and students who aided in this case.
“The coverage reflects the excitement of the public about what was done to help Marley and to support CSU,” said Dr. Felix Duerr, the man who performed Marley’s surgery.
Upon first arrival, they expected that Marley only suffered from one broken elbow and an infection, but after a second x-ray of the bear’s right arm, it was clear that both of her elbows were broken.
“After we did an X-ray of her right leg, we found out that that leg was fractured as well in the exact same location as the left leg,” Dr. Campbell said. “Which tells you that she must have fallen from some height and landed on her elbows — she used them to break her fall.”
Senior veterinary student, Barr Hadar, played a key role in Marley’s case and he worked very closely with Marley while she was at CSU.
“I treated it like it was just another case,” Hadar said. “I was excited though — I had never worked on a bear before and I was looking forward to it when I heard that Marley was coming in.”
Being a fourth year veterinary student, Hadar was in charge of the case notes for Marley’s stay at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. For Hadar, like most of the other veterinary students, most of the excitement came from figuring out how they were going to treat the 300 pound wild animal.
“The whole thing was pretty exciting,” said Hailey Turner, third year veterinary student. “We got to listen to the top orthopedic surgeons in the world talk about what they were going to do about this and how they were going to do it.”
“That’s what’s nice about this place,” said Dr. Terry Campbell, one of CSU’s veterinarians who worked on the case. “It’s such a team approach to these things — it has to be.”
Although there was no specific research done in Marley’s case, previous research conducted by the VTH made a big difference in the way Marley was treated for her broken elbows.
“Our research had affected what we did to her,” Dr. Duerr said. “For example, the treatment we applied — Shock Wave — we just finished a study testing it on dogs and found that it accelerates bone healing.”
The effort of all the veterinary departments and their research proved successful and Marley should head home within the next couple of weeks.
For the veterinary students, Marley’s case was definitely an interesting twist to their usual clientele of dogs, ferrets and birds, but it was also a great chance to apply what they’ve learned in their research to a unique case.
“We got to work as a team and help out an animal that wouldn’t normally be this lucky,” Hadar said. “It was cool to put together the pieces and figure out the story and see how we could take what we’ve learned here throughout our training and apply it to a specific case.”
Collegian Reporter Rick Cookson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.