PULLMAN, Wash. — Amber, the 12-week-old bobcat kitten being treated for burns at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has died.

The bobcat’s death ended an extensive recovery effort by WSU veterinarians, staff, and volunteers.  Burned on more than 30 percent of her body, the kitten had undergone two surgical procedures to relieve scar tissue contractions that affected her ability to eliminate bodily wastes. 

The healing was progressing well until early Monday morning when the animal apparently began to scratch and gnaw at the scars, a common occurrence with such injuries.  A staff member discovered that the cat had accidentally lacerated her femoral artery and was near death.  Veterinarians with WSU’s Exotic Animal Service were called in, but were unable to save the animal.

“When a veterinarian works with wild animals that suffer extensive injuries, death is often the outcome unfortunately,” explained Nickol Finch, the veterinarian who heads up WSU’s Exotic Animal Service.  “Still we are frustrated and saddened by Amber’s death; she had become a favorite among our staff and volunteers and was doing very well considering her injuries.”

The bobcat suffered the burns during routine burning of timber slash piles near Omak over Memorial Day weekend.  It is thought the kitten was part of a litter that had been born in the logging debris just a short time before it was burned.  She was referred to WSU by an Omak veterinarian who had been treating her successfully for about three weeks before the complications arose.

The WSU veterinary college receives more than 300 sick or injured wild animals a year.  Wild animals are treated as a free service to the State of Washington and to provide WSU veterinary students with experience caring for wildlife.  Operations of the unit rely on donations and a large core of volunteers.  Donations for the Exotic Animal Service can be made by contacting Andrea Farmer at 509/335-5389 or at afarmer@vetmed.wsu.edu.