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Sudbury, Ont.'s Ella the moose has more surgery for broken leg

A moose calf named Ella is on the mend after undergoing a second surgery by the Ontario Veterinary College to repair her broken leg. Ella has been under the care of Wild at Heart wildlife refuge, outside Sudbury, since she was orphaned in May.

Orphaned in May, calf moose undergoes surgery twice for fractured leg

Ella sniffs some fall foliage on Wednesday after a second surgery at the Ontario Veterinary College to mend a broken hind leg. (Contributed by: Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre)

Thanks to an outpouring of support, Ella the orphaned moose calf is doing well after a second surgery by the Ontario Veterinary College to repair her broken leg. 

Earlier this week, the Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre in Lively, Ont., made a public plea for help transporting Ella down to Guelph so the OVC's vets could investigate why the moose was in pain. 

Within hours they had multiple offers, says Wild at Heart founder and head veterinarian Rod Jouppi. 

"Moose in Canada hold a special place in people's hearts. We have a declining moose population right now in Ontario and it's causing a lot of concern."

"I think it just captured people's hearts."

Second surgery to repair broken hind leg

Ella underwent surgery in September to repair her fractured hind leg, but this week she started showing signs of pain and had to undergo a second surgery at the Ontario Veterinary College. (Contributed by: Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre)

Ella first broke her leg in September. 

"She was just loping in her paddock and it was just a stress-type fracture."

"She didn't catch it, she didn't hit it. It just happened when she was walking at a brisk pace"

Ella was transported to the vet college in Guelph, where their surgeons operated and installed pins in her hind leg, and encased it in a purple fibreglass cast. 

Xrays on Wednesday showed some of the pins had come loose and were causing her pain. 

Jouppi said Thursday that surgery was a long one, but appears to have gone well. Ella is up and walking but not yet putting weight on that leg. 

Orphaned moose calves injury-prone

Ella came to the wildlife refuge in May, as an orphan calf. 

"It's very difficult, bringing up moose calves," explains Jouppi.

The first three months can be critical, says Jouppie. Because orphan moose calves never receive their mother's milk, they're prone to infection. 

"Moose also are prone to injury. They have very soft cortex on their bones," says Jouppi. "And because they're a prey species, their bones are soft -- so basically other animals in nature can chew them up,"

These two factors can make the animals susceptible to broken limbs, and can jeopardize their chances of being re-released into the wild.

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