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Cougars nursing beaver back to health

WSU veterinarians are nursing a juvenile beaver that was struck by a car back to health.

The 41-pound animal was struck accidentally by a motorist last week near Lewiston, Idaho. The accident resulted in the young female breaking off her four front teeth and suffering numerous bruises and scrapes.

The year-and-a-half-old beaver, nicknamed Bailey, was brought to the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine by a retired Idaho Department of Fish and Game agent.

“The good news is Bailey’s two large front teeth should grow back,” said Nickol Finch, who heads up the exotic animal service for the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Finch explained that a beaver’s front teeth grow constantly throughout their life and actually require the animal’s constant gnawing activity to keep them at a healthy length.

The beaver is recuperating by spending time swimming in a hydrotherapy sink. Within the next few weeks, Bailey will be moved to a wildlife rehabilitation facility where she will receive additional care until she fully recovers.

Her long-term prognosis is good. “Her four front teeth are expected to grow back in about three months, and she should be able to be released into the wild without any problems,” said Finch.

The WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital treats hundreds of wildlife cases each year. “Obviously wild animals do not generate revenue, like an owned animal does,” said Finch. “Nonetheless, they are an important part of a complete veterinary education and donations for their care are always welcome. We have the dual goals of treating and releasing wild animals whenever possible as well as training the next generation of veterinarians that will carry on this important work.”

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