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Pregnant Sloth in Critical Condition receives Emergency C-Section

Carrie was rescued in Guanacaste. Her story is a bit of a mystery, as she was found low on a tree and thought to be electrocuted, however, both of her back legs had bones protruding out from the joint, which is not typical in electrocution cases. The injuries were infected, and her bones were broken in multiple places. Because of this, she had to have one “finger” amputated from her right leg, and all 3 claw-like bones amputated from her right leg.

Her condition is also very unique because she is pregnant! This poor girl is learning to live without 4 of her claw-like “fingers”, which are integral in a sloth’s ability to climb, while also carrying a baby. Thankfully, Carrie had been doing well after her operation. After one ultrasound, she started behaving strangely and not eating, however, after an IV and another examination, her appetite was returning. She is receiving a lot more food than the other sloths, as she is eating for two! We are continuously monitoring the baby’s heart rate to ensure no strange side effects due to the electrocution.

However, on March 21 Carrie’s health started to decline. While she had been adjusting well initially, she started to become weaker in the last few days. After administering an IV, her health was declining quickly.
Another two ultrasounds found debris and extra fluid in the uterus and her baby’s heartbeat was slowing at an alarming rate.

Tissue damage from electrocution led to internal infection, affecting Carrie’s uterus and her pregnancy. We found that Carrie was going through Septic Shock, a severe condition caused by the toxins released by the bacteria in the placenta and uterus. These toxins were threatening her life and the baby’s, so we tried to induce birth with hormones. 

Unfortunately, Carrie was too weak to go into labor. We needed to act fast to perform an emergency C-Section in order to try to save her and the baby. Going into the surgery, however, we were solemnly aware of the toll anesthesia could take on her already damaged organs. The electrocution impaired her kidney and liver function to the point that she might not be able to recover from the anesthesia. Though performing the surgery could compromise her life, doing nothing would have endangered them both. Because she was not responding to the hormones, our medical team had to act fast with no other choice but to perform an emergency c-section.

We stabilized her for surgery and after about an hour and a half in the operating room, the baby was delivered alive! Premature, but breathing! After being placed in an incubator, his breathing stopped for a short time. Our vets stimulated his respiratory system, gave him antibiotics, and a cardiorespiratory analeptic to increase his heart rate. Since then, he has been breathing on his own!

There are so many small victories to celebrate in this story, however, our hearts are heavy. While Carrie survived the invasive surgery, the long-term damage caused by electrocution on her liver and kidney resulted in them failing. We made sure she was comfortable, provided her warmth, kept her hydrated, and continued her antibiotics. She powered through the night, but it is with great sadness that we must inform you of her passing. This morning, her body was unable to overcome its insurmountable struggle with electrocution. We feel some solace, knowing she is no longer in pain and that her baby might get the chance to experience a healthy life in the wild.

These next few days are hyper-critical for the baby and we are not certain if he will be able to survive the turbulent journey. Our first step was to save the newborn from the toxic infection, but that is merely the first hurdle. If his body is healthy enough, a long road to recovery lies ahead, one that we hope we can facilitate and observe with optimism and joy. 

As we reflect, we are thankful that there is still a life to come out of this emotional journey with Carrie. All of the funds raised from Carrie’s CUDDLY campaign will go into the care of her newborn son and the other sloths who suffer from the same electrocution story as her.

Support our Wildlife Medicine Efforts

You can support stories like Carrie and her baby by donating to our Wildlife Clinic and medical efforts. All donations are tax-deductible and go right back into the care of rescued animals that come to us from car accidents, electrocution, animal abuse, and many other issues. You can feel good about your donation as it supports animals receiving a second chance at a life #backinthetrees!

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