It has been 9 days since Timber’s injury and life-saving surgery, but she still will not eat – so we decided to get a closer look.
She was anesthetized for a thorough examination of her progress toward healing and to see if we can figure out why she refuses to eat. (her previous update is here)
She is healing from the original surgery and there are no signs of infection, but we are not sure if it is possible to repair some of the remaining damage. Her esophagus and Trachea are intact, and the muscles are stitched back together to the best of anyone’s ability.
Unfortunately, we discovered that her hyoid bone is broken, which is the anchoring structure for her tongue and helps with swallowing as well as the function of her larynx. There are also nerves in the injured area that are responsible for her ability to swallow. We don’t know if those nerves were damaged as well. These are issues we cannot repair.
Fortunately, she is still drinking from her automatic waterer (although not from a bowl). She may regain proper function on her own and start eating for us, but the clock is ticking. Unfortunately, there is no way to force the issue without anesthesia since she is a wild animal and not handleable.
Meanwhile, we are continuing with her meds and offering her all of her favorite things to eat, in every form from bits of various types of meat, to a ‘smoothie’, to broth. We will have the results of her bloodwork back in a few days to make sure there are no other challenges we need to address.
We will continue to do our best to support her through this struggle. Thank you to everyone who has donated toward her care and for all of your kind words of support.