Through His Innovation and Dedication, Dr. Jeffrey Watkins Helped an Injured Polar Bear Named Nora.

Learn about Nora, and injured polar bear, and Dr. Watkins' role in getting Nora on the road to recovery.

03 March 2019

The story begins with Nora, the 3-year-old polar bear who resides at the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah. One of the favorites at the Hogle Zoo, Nora enjoys getting rowdy like any other polar bear. Unfortunately, during an examination on January 27, 2019, Nora’s caretakers discovered that her boisterous behavior may have led to a broken humerus in the polar bear.


Knowing that this broken humerus would be a challenge to mend, Nora’s caretakers immediately searched the country for experts who were willing and able to help the young polar bear. This is when our own Dr. Jeffrey Watkins, DVM, MS, DACVS, member of the AO North America Executive Council and Chairperson of the AOVET North America Board, was contacted.


Dr. Watkins, a large animal expert and professor in the Department of Large Animal Medicine & Surgery at the Texas A&M University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, had learned about Nora’s condition and the challenges he would face with the patient. To start, polar bear surgery is uncommon, making the reference data even more rare. In addition, this popular polar bear had been previously diagnosed with a metabolic bone disease. With these factors in mind, as well as the dropping polar bear population, the short- and long-term success of Nora’s surgery made the situation even more vital. Dr. Watkins agreed to help Nora as he is always willing to help an animal achieve the best surgical outcomes no matter the situation or species.


Applying his knowledge and experience, Dr. Watkins set forth to help Nora as much as he could. On February 4, 2019, Dr. Watkins and other orthopedic experts throughout the country worked together as they performed surgery on the polar bear’s broken humerus. The collaboration and hard work of the team has placed Nora on the road to a full recovery.


Learn more about this compelling story here.


Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.