Barred Owl Has a Big Week!

A Barred Owl was transferred to the Wildlife Medical Clinic from a nearby veterinary clinic on February 20th after being hit by a car on February 18th. In their initial exam, the team noticed an open fracture on the middle of the right humerus of the wing. Radiographs (x-rays) showed that the wing had been rotated a complete 360 degrees!

Once the wing was rotated back into normal position, the team had to wait to assess whether the portion distal to the rotation (closer to the wing tip) still had healthy blood supply. Once this was ensured, they determined the owl was a good candidate for surgery to repair the humeral fracture.

Before heading to 4th year clinics, a third year team leader takes a final opportunity to show a first year student volunteer how to place a pin to correct the fracture of the humerus.

Radiographs were taken again after surgery to ensure the pins were in the correct position to allow for the bone to heal in proper alignment.

The team was happy with the placement of the pins! However, as they continued to monitor the owl, they noticed it squinting its right eye. On further investigation, team leaders determined that the owl could not see out of its right eye and that an injury was causing discomfort. So, the owl underwent surgery again, this time an evisceration procedure to remove the eye.

While raptors such as hawks cannot hunt without clear vision in both eyes, owls can do very well with their keen sense of hearing, even when missing an eye!

This patient recovered very well from all of these procedures! Right now, the team is planning to do PROM (passive range of motion) exercises on the wing regularly. This is an important physical therapy regimen to ensure the muscles in the the wing recover with the full range of motion that is needed for flight.

Students use a goniometer to measure the angle of the wing in full extension. The measurements from each PROM session are compared to monitor progression. The end goal is to get wing range of motion to be compatible for flight.

We know the students assigned to this case will work hard and hope this patient has a smooth and total recovery!