Cassius, the Tamanduas anteater

In western Costa Rica, a wildlife sanctuary is using a Canadian innovation from Arbutus Medical to provide orthopedic surgery to injured, sick and orphaned wildlife.

Cassius, the Tamanduas anteater, was brought to the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary after being traumatically hit by a car and left for dead. The Tamanduas anteater are common to Latin America and live in the treetops of forests and grasslands. The animals are nocturnal and are uncomfortable on the ground, walking on the sides of their forefeet due to their sharp claws.

At the sanctuary, Cassius was quickly treated by Dr. Kathy Wander and the Alturas Wildlife team. Cassius’ broken femur required surgery, with Dr. Wander using an Arbutus Medical DrillCover system to place an external-fixation device. This device consists of pins and screws placed into the bone and attached to a metal frame outside of the body. It stabilizes and aligns the broken bones during the healing process.

Once Cassius’s femur had healed and the external-fixation device was removed, this lucky Tamanduas anteater was released back into the wild and will hopefully never encounter a highway again.

Growing number wildlife trauma cases

While Cassius’s is a success story, Dr. Wander notes the growing number of trauma cases arising from human-wildlife clashes over the last three years that she has been volunteering at the sanctuary. The main causes are car accidents or animals getting caught and electrocuted in power lines. This is likely due to increased traffic as a result of growth in tourism.

Along with the wide array of types of animals as well as trauma procedures she finds herself performing, the Alturas Wildlife care team is faced with the additional challenges of relying on electrically-powered lighting and power tools and an unreliable power grid.

To address some of these challenges in surgery, the sanctuary purchased an Arbutus Medical DrillCover Hex System, a battery-powered orthopedic drill solution.”

“The DrillCover is a life saver for surgery here in the jungle,” says Dr. Wander.

With a limited budget, the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is gathering donations so they can purchase a SawCover System, a sterile and battery-powered saw solution, which would allow Dr. Wander and her team a greater chance at more success stories like Cassius’.

If you are interested in donating a kit, please contact us at: donate@arbutusmedical.ca.

For more information, visit Arbutus Medical’s blog.