Wolf Transfer Review: The Actual Physical

Here’s the final post about our Wolf Transfer Day.

Like with all the other parts of the of the day, we did lots of prep and planning to make sure our actual hands-on work with the wolves went as smooth as possible.

Physical sheets, sample bags, blood tubes, vaccinations, emergency drugs, cool down materials, towels, and more, were all readied ahead of time. A verbal review of our plan also took place- several times. We already talked a lot about crates, and with them weighed ahead of time, we were ready to have the appropriate amount of drugs/medicines available for each wolf.

We brought in additional veterinary personnel as well: another Veterinarian and Veterinary Technician joined our team to help us work rapidly, safely, and efficiently.

Left side of the picture has several trays with blood collection tubes in each tray. There are 10 trays in total (one for each wolf). Moving down the counter you’ll see fecal loops, thermometers, and then the dye to make a colored patch on each wolf for ID. A stack of flea combs and then our otoscope as well as syringes and more.

We had an idea of which wolf was in which crate. The parents, Moose and Cary, are physically distinct, and we assumed the two other heaviest crates were the brothers, Eno and Ellerbe, born in 2018. With the above in mind, we started out with the physicals on the 6 pups born in 2019 first. Check out the post on how we got the wolves out of the crate and on to the table before reading on.

As each wolf was taken out of its crate, we used the microchip reader to confirm which wolf was which. That’s when Katy pulls the specific physical sheet for the wolf and we start the timer.

Katy, our Tech in blue, talks with Rachel, in the maroon top. She’s a vet tech who works at Duke’s Office of Animal Welfare Assurance.

Our goal for each wolf is 10 minutes or less on the table. We cover the wolf’s eyes, which helps to limit stimulation. We divide and concur the tasks.

Dr. Vanderford, the Museum’s consulting veterinarian, gathered vitals while Kate and Janine were charged with wolf handling.
Dr. Kolstad, from Duke’s Office of Animal Welfare Assurance, is getting heart rates, while Rachel is getting a temperature. Animal Care Specialists Janine and Kate did most of the containing of the wolves on the table.
Flea combing is an important part of the physical. Any fleas, or flea dander, means we need to do additional treatments. No flea evidence was found on any wolf.
Dr. Kolstad in blue. assessing body condition, while Dr. Vanderford checks out this wolf’s ears.
Each wolf had blood samples taken. Blood gets sent off, just like when humans have blood drawn. Additionally, we send samples to be banked for the future of the species.
In this, and the next photo, three of us work on the blood draw: myself holding the head in position, while Rachel steadied the needle, and Dr. Vanderford filled the different blood tubes

In this final picture, you’ll notice some blue dye being wiped on to the wolf. We did this to help Mill Mountain Zoo staff learn which wold was which.

All 10 wolves got checked out. Vaccines given. Dyed splotches on the “pups” completed. It couldn’t have gone much better, thanks to the 20+ people who helped ensure it went that way.

I’m not sure we’ll ever have to do 10 wolf physicals in one day again, but I know we’ll be ready if we have to.

2 responses to Wolf Transfer Review: The Actual Physical

  1. Jamie O’Brien says:

    Hey Sherry- Jamie O’Brien from PDZA,
    What type of blue dye do you use? We’ve been trying out several different products recently on our wolves but not many things hold very well.

    • Sherry Samuels says:

      Hey Jamie,
      WE used Manic Panic dye- Mill Mountain Zoo had used it successfully on some animals. Our goal was to have it stay on long enough for the MMZ staff to begin to identify differences between wolves. Some colors worked better than others.
      Good luck– you’ve got a lot of wolves to identify!

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