Brody has always been a “special needs” bear.

You may remember that he was brought to us by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in February.

Brody was found abandoned at an estimated three weeks of age with severe respiratory issues and a weak suckling response.

Once we nursed Brody back to health, he had to be fed every four hours around the clock.

Keepers still spend several hours with Brody every day to ensure he gets the exercise and socialization he needs.

In May, the underside of Brody’s abdomen became sensitive to the touch, and he was repeatedly observed licking this area of his body.

Stem cell therapy is in the category of regenerative medicine treatments

Brody stem cell surgery Brevard zoo

We anesthetized Brody for a diagnostic exam and discovered evidence of a condition similar to hip dysplasia in dogs.

It is not clear if he was born with this condition or if it is the result of trauma sustained at a very young age.

If left untreated, it could have caused severe pain and arthritis as Brody matured.

Last week, Brody underwent a surgery known as juvenile pubic symphysiodesis (JPS), which involves fusing a growth plate to encourage a widening of the hip’s sockets, leading to better coverage of the femoral heads.

We believe he is the first-ever bear to receive JPS.

The procedure was led by local veterinary surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Christiansen of Superior Veterinary Surgical Solutions, who has performed JPS on puppies to great success.

Although bears and dogs are obviously different animals, their hips are similar from a skeletal perspective.



After the procedure, Brody the bear was returned to his habitat and recovered from the anesthesia without issue.

This treatment should alleviate some of the pain Brody is experiencing—hopefully reducing the severity of his limp—but we won’t see results for a few days or weeks.

Our veterinarians are working on getting Brody an MRI scan and spinal tap, which could yield a more definitive diagnosis—especially if Brody’s issues are neurological in nature.

Quality veterinary care is expensive. If you are able to support animal wellness via stem cell therapy in Brevard Zoo, please do during this financially challenging time.

walking Brody the bear brevard zoo

Brody takes a stroll outside the L3Harris Animal Care Center.

Dr. Christiansen also collected some of Brody’s fat, which will be sent to a laboratory that will extract stem cells from the sample for use in injections that promote healing.

Brody is recovering under close supervision at the L3Harris Animal Care Center. For the first five days after the surgery, we stayed overnight with Brody to keep him safe and comfortable.

He was medicated to keep his activity levels down, giving the incision a better chance to heal.

Animal care staff are using a harness and leash to take Brody on daily “walks” for fresh air and exercise.

Brody is doing exceptionally well, and we expect he will soon be able to return to the behind-the-scenes bear habitat where he was living prior to the surgery.

We will continue to monitor his hips as he grows, and we are optimistic about his future.

This procedure cost about $7,500 between labor, drugs and other supplies. If you’d like to help cover these expenses, please contact individual giving manager Sherri Law at or 321-254-9453, ext. 234.

Stem cell therapy in Brevard County Florida

If someone you know … flesh and blood or furry friend, reach out for less invasive options. email: