FORT COLLINS - Once a roadside attraction confined to a concrete bunker in North Georgia, a bear named Marley came to Colorado for a better life.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colo., rescued Marley and 16 fellow inmates from a foreclosed 'bear park,' where the animals were kept in cramped concrete pits and fed apples and bread by tourists.
As she settled into her new home in January, keepers at the sanctuary realized Marley wasn't moving around as she should, keeping weight off one of her front legs.
Tuesday morning, Marley was crated and given anesthesia to be transported to the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Marley weighs about 300 pounds, and the local police were even notified of her transportation and arrival.
Veterinarians determined Marley had not one, but two forelimb fractures estimated to be more than a month old. One break was badly infected.
The 6-year-old grizzly (mixed with Syrian Brown bear) had apparently broken both elbows while she was confined in the park in Georgia.
The surgery required the skills of two orthopedic surgeons: a specialist in both large and small animal cases.
Dr. Felix Duerr, small-animal orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Jeremiah Easley, equine orthopedic surgeon, teamed up to perform the surgery, which was successful.
Vets cleaned the infection, looked for necrotic bone, cleared scar tissue and inserted antibiotic beads to promote full healing, according to CSU.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary believes Marley could live another 20 years.
Video of Marley's surgery is available at http://youtu.be/BBCF8RwgJg8.