Mar 082010
Authors: Aaron Hedge, Kirsten Silveira

CSU officials said Monday that the university will spend no more than $1,600 on medical fees for 21 students and faculty members who visited the Poudre Valley Hospital in November after being exposed to the carcass of a mountain lion that had died of plague.

None of the individuals were diagnosed with plague, but after the incident the university will require veterinary students to purchase CSU’s medical insurance, university spokesperson Dell Rae Moellenberg said in an e-mail to the Collegian last week.

“When the students were directed to receive treatment a commitment was made to pay for the deductible costs or costs not covered by insurance,” she said, adding that the university normally offers no assistance to students who need medical attention as a result of his or her studies.

The total cost of the medical bills for the people who were treated by PVH could not be released because the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPPA, protects their medical records.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife brought the mountain lion’s carcass to CSU’s Diagnostic Medical Center on Nov. 17, Moellenberg said.
Faculty and staff at the veterinary teaching facility often work with the DOW to determine the cause of death for wild animals found in the area.

Upon initial examination the animal didn’t seem to have died of plague, but during the more in-depth portion of the necropsy, signs of the disease were spotted.

“The existence of plague in larger wildlife, such as a mountain lion, is somewhat unusual ­–– our veterinarians are aware of a couple of cases a year,” Moellenberg said in the e-mail.

Students do not regularly perform necropsies on animals that have died of plague, she said, and the policies for the routine procedure have been revised to ensure more care since the incident.

_Projects Editor Aaron Hedge and Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at

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